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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

16 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.134

A non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz Sharif:



An accuse loses the audience the moment he absconds, argues the prosecutor

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

On 15 September, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz Sharif while discharging his application seeking exemption from personal appearance in the hearing of appeals against his conviction in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield Properties reference. 

An IHC division bench issued a short order on the application and has adjourned further hearing of the matter till 22 September. Further, the court also rejected his request to allow him to be represented by a counsel in his absence, observing that he should be arrested and produced before the court. (Obaid Abrar Khan, "Court orders Nawaz's arrest," The News International, 16 September 2020)

The federal and Punjab governments did not try to verify the medical reports, argues Nawaz's lead counsel
Nawaz's lead counsel argued that the federal and Punjab governments who constituted a medical board to ascertain the condition of Nawaz recommended that he should go abroad after which the federal government removed his name from the exit control list (ECL). Further, he cited Nawaz's departure according to which the federal government was supposed to verify the medical reports. However, he argued that neither the federal government nor the Punjab authorities made efforts to verify the medical reports. Further, he said that Nawaz was stuck in London, and thus requested the court not to initiate the proceedings to declare him a proclaimed offender. 

NAB prosecutor argues that Nawaz be proclaimed an offender
On the other hand, the additional prosecutor general the National Accountability Bureau, argued that as per the settled law, an accused loses the audience the moment he absconds. He asked the court to initiate proceedings to declare Nawaz as a proclaimed offender since his bail had lapsed, and despite being convicted, he did not surrender. (Malik Asad, "Warrant out for Nawaz as excuses leave court unmoved," Dawn, 16 September 2020)

PML-N says Nawaz will return when his health permits
Reacting to the IHC's order the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif, in a press conference stated that, "although it [IHC's decision] is against us, we respect it, as we respect all decisions of courts. Respecting the decision of the courts is a founding principle of our party," adding, "the life of Nawaz Sharif is in danger and in the present circumstances he cannot suffer hardships of imprisonment. Once his health is stable he will definitely return to the country to face cases against him." (Syed Irfan Raza "Nawaz to return when his health permits: PML-N," Dawn, 16 September 2020) 

However, the government advised the ex-premier to adhere to the court orders and return to Pakistan from the United Kingdom to face cases against him. ("IHC decision to pave way for Nawaz's return: Fawad," The News International, 16 September 2020)

Earlier arguments
The IHC initially directed Nawaz "to surrender" and appear before the court by before the court on the 10 September against his conviction in the Al-Azizia reference. However, Nawaz's lead counsel argued that the high court had suspended the sentence awarded to the appellant and granted bail for eight weeks with the observation that if it was to be extended the same should be done by the Punjab government under Section 401(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Further, arguing that Nawaz could not return to the country due to the coronavirus pandemic with PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz stating that her father will get back as soon his treatment was over and only after the doctors give him a clean bill of health. ("Maryam Nawaz insists Nawaz Sharif to get back only after full treatment," The News International, 2 September 2020)

Later, on 9 September, Nawaz filed a review petition in the IHC stating that it was not possible for him to surrender in the Al-Azizia reference by 10 September urging the court to forgo the requirement. The petition was filed by Nawaz's lawyer who also submitted the latest medical reports signed a London-based consultant cardiothoracic surgeon. The petition noted that Nawaz's return to Pakistan at this current time may prove to be "fatal" added that all the medical reports which have been submitted show his inability to return to Pakistan. ("Nawaz tells IHC he cannot return and surrender," The News International, 9 September 2020)

Further, On 9 September, Judge Mohammad Azam Khan of the Accountability Court of Islamabad declared Nawaz Sharif as an offender in the Toshakhana vehicles reference over his continued absence from the proceedings. (Malik Asad, "Nawaz declared proclaimed offender," Dawn, 10 September 2020)

Media on Nawaz Sharif's return
An editorial in the News says Nawaz's mass appeal is unlikely to diminish which is why the govt should weigh its options carefully adding that what is to follow is going to impact Pakistan's politics and the future of a party. ("A flight home?," The News International, 3 September 2020) Another editorial in Dawn says that Nawaz should return and take command of an incapacitated opposition adding that he should accept the challenge and return to take command of an opposition that has been stuck in a rut. ("Time to come back," Dawn, 3 September 2020)

 
From the file. (Image Source: Dawn)

Despite the optimistic talk of projects in Balochistan, "there runs an undercurrent of local grievances".

Dawn has published a report (which appears to be a series) on the status of Balochistan. Written by Fahd Husain, the report comes in the wake of the Planning Minister Asad Umar's visit to southern Balochistan along with a high-level delegation for the preparation of the announcement of a major package by PM Imran Khan aimed at uplifting the "long-neglected and under-developed area". 

Husain argues that the Gwadar port is finally transforming into the originally envisioned project as districts are slowly returning to normalcy following years of insurgency and opines that the southern Balochistan, a region wearing "scars of state neglect" must soon be pulled into national mainstream. Stating that the progress on the Gwadar port has been low, Husain argues there is more focus today on expediating the port's development due to the rapid pace of the CPEC.

The three enablers: Security, energy and connectivity
Husain cites three enablers for the increase in growth of investment and shipping traffic: security, energy and connectivity. Presently, the military has designated two army divisions for CPEC's security. According to officials, another three years is required to achieve the targeted levels of these projects.

The local grievances
The report concludes with the undercurrents relating to local grievances endure. The fears of demographic alterations and rearrangements, unemployment, deprivation of rights persist. He argues that although the majority are "fanned by vested political interests, some are genuine enough to be addressed." He reiterates the officials' statements regarding the Gwadar Port Authority conducting vocational trainings for the local population to upgrade and match their skills to the requirements at the port and the Director-General of the Authority Asim Tiwana statement that the residents whose land had been procured for the purpose of the port had been "more than compensated". ("Balochistan Diary-I: Compensating for neglect," Dawn, 16 September 2020)

 
Imran Khan, a day earlier had called for tough punishments for the rapists (Image Source: The News)

In Brief 
INTERNAL

Responding to Imran Khan's suggestion: Public hanging is not a solution
An editorial in the Dawn has been critical of public hanging as an immediate or a long-term solution to any crime. Instead, it states that structural and procedural changes can serve its purpose. It has cautioned Prime Minister Imran Khan to not allow himself be carried away on the emotions of the public after the motorway gang rape incident last week. The editorial states that the spectacle of public hanging would include Pakistan among the most brutalized of societies. 

The editorial points at the Prime Minister's proposal that sex offenders be chemically castrated while stating that he has ignored the conviction rate is just three percentage. The editorial has been critical of the police investigations being defective and compromised which would perform when pressurized. It gives the example of one of the suspects with a history of being a "habitual rapist" who was earlier arrested for being involved in a gang rape in 2013 only to be released from custody. ("Public hanging is no remedy," Dawn, 16 September 2020)

Another editorial does a harsh self-reflection on society, misogyny and sexism
An editorial in the News International critical of the insensitive reactions after the gang-rape which took place on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway brings out the harsh realities that persist in the country. It states that the country remains to be a place where men mostly get away with rape, sexism and misogyny, where police are more worried about what time women step out of their homes, where those in power think 'moral decay' adds to offences such as rape and paedophilia and Where women will come and protest, but their voices will be drowned out by the over-zealous political point-scoring and opportunism dripping from every single political player.

The calls to violence are not the reaction of a people shaken, but that of a people so used to violence that even their grief and their fear and their empathy somehow find resolution in the act of hanging or lynching or castrating. Adding that the larger debate of violence against women, rape as a crime of power, women's place in an increasingly stifled and oppressive society, remains lost among these calls for death and moral righteousness. ("Appalling reactions," The News International, 16 September 2020)

Another journalist booked for propaganda against state institutions
Asad Ali Toor, a journalist based in Islamabad, has been booked on charges of maligning the institutions of the state through his social media posts. The complainant was a resident of Rawalpindi named Ehtisham Ahmed. Mr Toor has been booked under sections 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 500 (punishment for defamation), 499 (Defamation). He was also charged under Pakistan Penal Code sections 37 (unlawful online content), 11 (hate speech) and 20 (offences against the dignity of a person) of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act 2016. The latest development comes in the backdrop of journalists, Bilal Farooqi and Absar Alam being booked on similar charges on 11 September. ("Journalist Asad Ali Toor booked for 'maligning state institutions'," Express Tribune, 15 September 2020) 

ECONOMY
Manufacturing rebounds
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the large-scale manufacturing (LSM) output recorded a rebound, following months of suffering due to the Covid-19, and grew 5.02 per cent in July. Prior to the pandemic, "the LSM index returned to red after jumping by 9.66pc in December 2019"; due to an impressive 97 per cent surge in sugar production. The production declined due to the outbreak and recorded the steepest fall in LSM index of 24.8 per cent year-on-year in May. However, reflecting economic revival, the output grew by 9.54 per cent in outgoing July in comparison with June. ("Large-scale manufacturing rebounds by 5.02pc in July," Dawn, 16 September 2020)

On Rashakai Economic Zone and the industrial ambitions of Imran Khan                                     
An editorial in the Dawn has stated the problems in Pakistan's drive to become more industrialized in the backdrop of Prime Minister Imran unveiling the Rashakai Economic Zone. The editorial points that Pakistan has pinned hopes on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) where the government is expecting massive Chinese investments. It points at the experience of many countries where the development of industrial estates and incentives are never enough to attract investors. Even as Pakistan has come out with a legal framework through the SEZ Act of 2012 which was amended in 2016, the government has struggled to attract investors due to its inability to protect them from the state's institutions and law enforcement agencies. The editorial suggests that the SEZs must have a transparent policy where strict rules have to be made for the facilitation of businesses. ("Industrial ambitions," Dawn, 16 September 2020) 

ON INDIA
FO says the reference in the US-India joint statement is unwarranted
On 15 September, the Foreign Office rejected the "unwarranted references to Pakistan" by a joint statement of the US-India Counter-terrorism Joint Working Group and Designations Dialogue. It called the statement as "one-sided and divorced from ground realities". The FO said, "It is important that partner countries take an objective view of the issues of peace and security in South Asia and refrain from endorsing positions that are one-sided and divorced from ground realities". The office added that Islamabad has already conveyed its "serious concerns and rejection of the unacceptable reference to Pakistan in the aforementioned joint statement" to Washington. "The international community also recognizes Pakistan's efforts, sacrifices and successes in the fight against terrorism," it added.("Pakistan strongly rejects US-India joint statement as 'one-sided'," Dawn, 16 September 2020)

On Pakistan-India trade
An analysis in The Nation by Dr Kamal Monnoo states his perspectives on the trade relations between India and Pakistan. He mentions trade between the two countries which came to a halt when India imposed 200 pc custom duty on Pakistani imports on 16 February 2019 and Pakistan's decision to impose trade embargo in return on 9 August in the same year. He opines that economic relations cannot function in the state of a vacuum where countries need to cater to the demands of its populations. Dr Monnoo states that in the post-2008 financial crisis, countries have started shifting their focus to reviving the home industry, spurring domestic demand and creating jobs at home. He adds that India has the edge over the balance of trade with Pakistan, and in the current scenario, it is difficult to address the trust deficit as critical irritants have to be addressed. (Dr Kamal Monnoo, "Pakistan-India trade," The Nation, 16 September 2020)

Differences over the map at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; Qureshi says India is losing credibility at international forums
Pakistan's Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf tweeted after India's National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval objected to Pakistan's political map and walked out of the virtual meeting with his counterparts from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on 15 September. Mr Yusuf said, "Bizarrely, my Indian counterpart chose to walk out of Pakistan and Russia's speech. Left a bad taste at a forum whose whole spirit is cooperation." ("Islamabad hails map triumph over Delhi at SCO," Dawn, 16 September 2020) A day later, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that India was losing credibility at international forums. ("India losing credibility at global forums: FM Qureshi," Dawn, 16 September 2020)

India's External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson was quoted to have said: "This was in blatant disregard to the advisory by the host against it and in violation of the norms of the meeting. After consultation with the host, the Indian side left the meeting in protest at that juncture." He also said: "As was to be expected, Pakistan then went on to present a misleading view of this meeting." ("India walks out of SCO meet of NSAs after Pakistan uses 'fictitious map'" The Mint, 15 September 2020

 


"Our strategic location and CPEC will pave the way for industrialisation...Our next phase is industrialisation. During the 60s, the nationalisation drive had affected the country’s economy and exports. The Chinese industry wanted to relocate and Pakistan offers a very attractive environment with complete incentivisation"

-  Imran Khan on CPEC.

 

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30 May 2020, Saturday, No 1, No.30

Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods

29 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.29

Pakistan remembers 28 May Nuclear Tests

24 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.24

Pakistan This Week

22 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.22

The missing girls of Pakistan

21 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.21

Locusts threaten Pakistan's food security

17 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No 17

Pakistan This Week

15 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.15

Disregard for SOPs peaks Covid-19 cases

14 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No 14

Violence in Afghanistan and the Media in Pakistan

12 May 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No 12

Smart Lockdown, SOPs vs Social Realities

9 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No 9

Record COVID-19 spike in a single day;