Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

19 September 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.137

Kashmir will be the focus of PM Khan’s UN address, says FO

PR Daily Brief |

According to the Foreign Office’s statement on 18 September, Kashmir would be the focal point of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September. The spokesman also informed that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would virtually participate in the UNGA’s high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and other such engagements. The FO also rejected India’s request for the appointment of a foreign lawyer in the Jadhav case and expressed concerns regarding India’s military buildup.


During the weekly media briefing, FO Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said “Due to restrictions imposed by the local government in New York, there will be no in-person high-level participation from outside. Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the General Assembly on Friday, 25th September”. He said: “... Jammu and Kashmir dispute will certainly be an important component of the Prime Minister’s UNGA address. Let me reiterate that Jammu and Kashmir dispute continues to remain a Foreign Policy priority for Pakistan”.

On India’s military buildup

Reacting to the formal induction of India’s first five of the 36 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft into the Indian Air Force (IAF) (which are being celebrated as a game changer by the IAF), he accused New Delhi of amassing military capabilities beyond India’s genuine security needs. Mr. Chaudhry said “Pakistan has been consistently highlighting the risk of massive Indian arms buildup as well as their offensive security doctrine and force postures, which are adversely affecting strategic stability in South Asia”. “The world community must dissuade India from its disproportionate arms buildup which could lead to an arms race in South Asia,” he added.

Highlights from PM Khan’s speech at the 74th UNGA in 2019

Imran Khan criticised the revocation of Article 370 by the incumbent Indian government; called it an illegal annexation; and highlighted the sufferings of the Kashmiris. He also criticised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s RSS inspired ideology and anti-Pakistan rhetoric. (“PM Imran minces no words at UN, calls out Modi govt for oppression of Kashmiris,” Dawn, 19 September 2020)

The 75thUNGA session will include a summit on biodiversity; a meeting to promote and commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons; and an event to commemorate the United Nation’s 75thanniversary. The UNGA session’s centerpiece, the general debate, would commence on 22 September. The upcoming 75thsession is unique as for the first time the leaders would not be attending the meetings in person. The recorded video statements by heads of states would be introduced and played “as live” in the UNGA by the respective country’s envoy. (“PM’s UN address on 25th will focus on Kashmir issue,” Dawn, 19 September 2020)


Cabinet Committee on Enforced Disappearances seeks reports on disappearances

During the first meeting Cabinet Committee on Enforced Disappearances, convened at the Ministry of Law and Justice on 18 September, the issue of the swelling incidence of disappearances in Pakistan was appraised. The federal cabinet directed high-level committee, chaired by the Federal Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Farogh Naseem, sought detailed reports from intelligence agencies, police and district administrations to counter the problem. The federal minister also urged participants to adhere by the mandate provided by the cabinet to figure out the causes and reasons for the enforced disappearances and submit recommendations to curb the incidence of such occurrences. The Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari was also in attendance. (“Panel on enforced disappearances seeks reports from police, other agencies,” Dawn, 19 September 2020)

Mr Nassem directed Islamabad Capital Territory Director General Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, Inspector General of Police Amir Zulfiqar and the Inter-Services Intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau and the interior ministry to provide information regarding the disappearances in the commission’s next meeting, expected to be convened next week. He also raised serious questions to the police officials.

The scathing ICJ verdict

An International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) briefing paper on “Entrenching Impunity, Denying Redress: The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan” lamented that although the COIED has successfully traced the whereabouts of missing persons in various cases, no apparent effort to curb the heinous crime has been observed. The ICJ observed that the COIED failed to address the issue. An ICJ legal and policy director Ian Seiderman said “This commission has failed in holding even a single perpetrator of enforced disappearance responsible in its nine years”. “A commission that does not address impunity, nor facilitate justice for victims and their families, can certainly not be considered effective,” he added.

In March 2011, the COIED headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, was constituted to trace the whereabouts of missing persons and to pin down accountability on organisations or individuals for the disappearances. (“ICJ assails performance of probe body on enforced disappearances,”Dawn, 19 September 2020)


Pakistani scientist joins the governing body of Europe’s leading public university

Mishal Khan, a Pakistani scientist has been elected to the governing body of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) which has been at the forefront of research on COVID-19 in recent months. The governing body known as the council is largely responsible for operational and strategic management at a time when other public health institutions are playing a vital role in the pandemic. The announcement of Mishal Khan’s appointment was made by the chair of LSHTM Council, Don Roberts known for his position as the chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group. (“Pakistani joins governing body of Europe’s varsity,” Dawn, 19 September 2020) 


The new addition comes in a month after Pakistan-born astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala was named the new dean of a top American institute the MIT School of Science, one of the five schools of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mavalvala is renowned for her work in gravitational-wave detection as a leading member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).  MIT President L. Rafael Reif stated that Mavalvala is a deft, collaborative problem-solver who is a generous colleague and an incomparable mentor. The astrophysicist finished her PhD from MIT in 1997 and also received the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award in 2016. “Pakistan-born astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala named dean of MIT School of Science,” Dawn, 18 August 2020) 




Opposition’s Agenda in the All Parties Conference

An opinion column in the Dawn chalks out two possible agendas for the opposition for Sunday’s multiparty conference (MPC). 1) Target to remove the government before its term expires in 2023 or 2) let the government complete its term but make life difficult for it.

To remove the government before 2023, the author suggests five ways. This includes a no confidence vote, change in the PTI’s leadership, a nationwide opposition dharna, opposition’s resignation from the National Assembly, and forging a consensus between Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman. However, the above options could jeopardisethe opposition; it may result in political chaos and even violence with unpredictable consequences.

To make life difficult for the government, the opposition can become more vocal in the Parliament and the media; these actions have so far not worked in favour of the opposition. The opposition could hit the streets provided there’s definite outcome and objective and it can sustain these efforts till 2023. Would the opposition risk to peak so early? Perhaps not and the opposition may surprise everyone on Sunday with something different altogether. (“What does the opposition want?Dawn, 19 September 2020)

Nawaz Sharif to participate in virtual multiparty conference

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif will attend a virtual multiparty conference led by the opposition scheduled to be held on 20 September. This would be his first meeting in more than a year ever since he flew to London for medical treatment. Senator Musadik Malik confirmed Mr Sharif’s participation on a show hosted by Samaa TV and added that Maryam Nawaz would be present in the meeting as well. The conference would be held to formulate a strategy to counter Imran Khan’s government over bad governance, sugar and wheat scandals and inflation. (Aamir Yasin and Atika Rehman, “Nawaz to virtually participate in multiparty conference,” Dawn, 19 September 2020) 

Sarena Isa refuses to accept tax liability, criticizes FBR chairman

Sarena Isa, the wife of Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa refused to accept a tax liability of Rs 35 million declared by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). She alleged that a “team of Imran Khan” which included Zulfiqar Ahmed from the FSB fabricated a false case against her and therefore intended to file an appeal against the order. Mrs Isa claimed that Mr Ahmed’s temporary appointment is fixed for the duration of her case.  (Malik Asad, “Justice Isa’s wife refuses to accept Rs 35m tax liability,” Dawn, 19 September 2020)

Justice Isa is expected to take over as the Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court in 2023. In 2019, the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Amanullah Kunrani accused the government of tarnishing Justice Isa’s reputation after his verdicts on two cases where he held a section of law enforcing agencies for patronage and failure. The cases were related to a violent sit-in by a religious group in Islamabad in 2018 and the killing of lawyers in a suicide attack in Quetta in 2016. (Islamuddin Sajid, “Pakistan top court dismisses reference against judge,” Anadolu Agency, 20 June 2020)

Controversy in the joint session of the Parliament

The opposition was unable to block ‘controversial’ legislation despite having a majority in the joint session of the Parliament on 16 September. This enabled the government to pass eight bills including three related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). It was estimated that 53 members, mostly from the opposition, did not participate in the joint session of the Parliament which prompted the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples (PPP) in deciding to take action against the members. (“53 MPs were absent from Parliament’s joint session,” Dawn, 19 September 2020)

The opposition, however, had reiterated that they were never against the FATF-related legislation except on bills which were involving violation of basic human rights and freedom. PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal and PPP leader Sherry Rehman said that the worst kind of rigging was committed in vote count during the joint session of the Parliament. They believe that the FATF was a reason for the government to victimise the opposition leaders by calling them traitors. The (Muhammad Anis, “Joint sitting: Opposition accuses govt of rigging in vote count,” The News International, 19 September 2020)

Pakistan Bar Association organises All Parties Conference

An editorial in The News International, focuses on the All Parties Conference organised by the Pakistan Bar Association on Wednesday. The conference - attended by mainstream opposition leaders, lawyers, journalists and others - raised questions about lack of accountability, loss of civil rights freedom and crackdown on press freedom.

Though these concerns were backed by Shahbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto, the editorial questions whether these concerns could be addressed given there is lack of unity among political parties; there are rumours that Shahbaz Sharif is dissatisfied with his own party and may be planning strategies of his own.

The lawyers and Pakistan Bar Association have, however, have given a framework and a set of recommendations which can help the country move towards democracy. (“Calling all parties,”The News International, 19 September 2020)


Pakistan and regional trade

An editorial in the Dawn, explains why Pakistan has poor trade relations with South Asian countries except Sri Lanka as Pakistan has decided to establish markets along borders with Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade. It highlights that Pakistan’s exports to and imports from neighbouring countries fell between 2011 and 2018.

Trade relations with India have been hindered due to the Kashmir dispute. Due to this, Pakistan has limited access to markets beyond India. On the west, though Afghanistan remains an important trade partner, internal security issues and a trust gap between the two states restrict trade. This also blocks Pakistan’s access to other Central Asian markets and seals the fate of a trade corridor connecting South Asia with the Central Asian Republics. Pakistan can access these markets through China but that route that remains closed five months owing to the harsh weather

Intra-regional trade is important for in economic development and GDP growth. Regional trade constitutes 65 percent of the EU’s international trade.  This figure is 35 percent and 25 percent in East Asia and Southeast Asia respectively while it is a mere 5 percent in South Asia. Pakistan alone cannot resolve the intra-regional trade issue; all stakeholders should work towards regional cooperation for faster economic growth and peace in the region. (“Regional Trade,” Dawn, 19 September 2020)

Arab Cultural Narcissism

An opinion column in theDawn cautions Pakistan about the cultural narcissism that has prevailed in the Arab world. The author outlines that Arab nations, which have understood that the oil economy will eventually fall, are pumping money into science and education. Though a respectable science journal praises Arab countries’ progress - going by the number of research papers published from universities - there is no other evidence to support the narrative of the Arab world being a scientific powerhouse.

The author says that Arab culture is self-absorbed and self-congratulatory; it is narcissistic. The culture fails to be innovative and lives in the glorious past of Islamic achievements.

There are some signs of hope today in the Arab world; many are moving up the learning curve. There is wider media access and more personal freedoms, particularly for women. With these arguments, the author shifts focus to Pakistan.

Referring to Pakistanis’ new-found obsession with the Ertugrul drama series, the author says the country is building its own narcissistic illusions based on its Turkic-Islamic past. Further, under the PTI’s Single National Curriculum, there is increased religious content and rote-learning and an absence of world history, philosophy, epistemology, or comparative religions. (“Arab Cultural Narcissism.”Dawn, 19 September 2020)

India and Afghanistan

An opinion column in The Nation, claims that India is derailing the peace process in Afghanistan. The authors say that India, which has invested around $3bn into Afghanistan in the last 15 years, was “fuelling the war machine.”

The authors believe that “India armed the Afghan forces as well as terrorist entities like IS and TTP with a view to target Taliban freedom fighters.” According to the article, India’s objectives in the region were to befriend anti-Pakistan outfits and penetrate the area east of River Indus including Balochistan to support proxy war against Pakistan.

The column further says that as the Taliban regime fell, India and the RAW’s facade came down as Afghanistan later became the centre of the power game led by the US and approximately 40 intelligence agencies pursuing individual agendas. To support this claim, the authors point out to Indian Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat insisting on talking to the Taliban during the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi.

The authors conclude by urging Afghanistan to “realise that the RAW and Indian government has blood of many of the Taliban martyrs on their hands.” (“How India targets Afghanistan,”The Nation, 19 September 2020)

Other Daily Briefs

26 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.168

PDM's strong rally in Quetta

24 October 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.167

Do More, says the FATF to Pakistan

23 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.166

Pakistan's Gender Gap

22 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.165

The "Karachi incident" spirals

21 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.164

"Who surrounded Sindh Police Chief's house," asks Bilawal Bhutto

20 October 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.163

FM Qureshi meets with Hekmatyar

19 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.162

PDM's second big rally in Karachi

17 October 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.161

PDM's first rally takes off to a great start in Gujranwala

16 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.160

PDM's first rally set to take off

15 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.159

Pakistan's pre-conditions for a dialogue with India

14 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.158

Pakistan re-elected to the UNHRC

13 October 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.157

Pakistan and the FATF's Grey List

12 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.156

Maulana Adil Khan laid to rest in Karachi

09 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.154

Khalilzad in Pakistan to discuss Afghan peace

08 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.153

Pakistan to experience muted economic recovery

07 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.152

20-point 'code of conduct' to promote sectarian harmony

06 October 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.151

A five-year development programme for the Gilgit- Baltistan

05 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.150

The next FATF meeting on Pakistan

02 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.148

Targeting Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N

01 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.147

On Pakistan Democratic Movement's rally:

30 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.146

PM Imran Khan wants to bring back Nawaz Sharif at the earliest:

29 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.145

Shahbaz Sharif's arrest causes an upheavel:

28 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.144

Abdullah Abdullah in Pakistan for a three days visit:

25 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.142

The Fallouts of the All Parties Conference:

24 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.141

Establishment and the PML-N:

23 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.140

For the US, the priority in Pakistan is to advance human rights :

22 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.139

One day after the All Parties Conference:

21 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.138

Nawaz Sharif goes on an offensive and talks about

19 September 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.137

Kashmir will be the focus of PM Khan’s UN address, says FO

18 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.136

Pakistan’s Persisting Polio Problem:

17 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.135

The need for a twin strategy in south Balochistan:

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

A non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz Sharif:

15 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.133

The CPEC march continues:

11 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.130

Pakistan and the SCO

10 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.129

Accountability Court declares Nawaz Sharif as an absconder

09 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.128

Federal-Provincial divide over Karachi increases

07 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.126

On Karachi, PPP and PTI divide comes to open

05 September 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.125

Kashmir in the UN and Pakistan

02 September, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.122

Court directs Nawaz Sharif to appear before the court

01 September, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.121

Rains and Floods continue to haunt Pakistan

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

An article speculates the Opposition’s options and strategies

26 August 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.116

"General Bajwa stabilized Pak-Saudi ties"

24 August 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.114

Pakistan, China and J&K

22 August 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.113

Pakistan and China pledge to safeguard common interests

20 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.111

The tragedy of Scientists from Pakistan's minority communities

19 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.110

"Pakistan can never recognise Israel," says Imran Khan

18 August 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.109

PTI's two-year report card

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

Pakistan's Palestine Dilemma

14 August 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.106

Pakistan at 73: Celebrating the Independence Day

13 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.105

COAS Gen Bajwa to visit Saudi Arabia soon

12 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.104

Government and opposition agree on six FATF bills

10 August 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.102

The FATF divides within Pakistan

09 August 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.101

Pakistan This Week

08 August 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.100

National Assembly clears two FATF bills, but blocks one.

07 August 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.99

Govt decides to lift restrictions as COVID cases decline

06 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.98

Pakistan's continuing Kashmir frenzy

05 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.97

Pakistan's new Map of J&K

04 August 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.96

Kashmir obsession in Pakistan

31 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.94

Two FATF bills passed in the National Assembly

30 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.93

Religiosity in Pakistan: From Creeping to now Galloping

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

Opposition parties attempt to come together

28 July 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.91

Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav

26 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.89

Pakistan This Week

23 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.86

On the abduction of a Journalist in Islamabad

19 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.82

Pakistan This Week

17 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.80

The licences are not fake but only dubious

16 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.79

On building Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan

15 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.78

On Af-Pak Transit Trade

12 July 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No. 75

Pakistan This Week

11 July 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.74

FATF action plan to be completed at the earliest: Shaikh

08 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.71

Return of Lal Masjid Maulana

07 July 2020, Tuesday , Vol 1, No.70

Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions

06 July 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.69

The problem with Pakistan Railways

02 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.65

The Curious case of "Minus One" Formula in Pakistan

30 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.63

BLA claims the attack on Stock Exchange in Karachi

28 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.61

Pakistan This Week

27 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.60

PTM accepts the dialogue offer, but wants CBMs

24 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.57

Reviewing Pakistan's Space Programme

23 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.56

Imran Khan says he was against the idea of lockdown

21 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.54

Pakistan This Week

20 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.53

Budgets presented in KP, and in Gilgit-Baltistan

19 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.52

PTI tries to get the BNP back into coalition,

18 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.51

Baloch partner of the PTI government leaves the coalition

15 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.48

The PTI government invites the PTM for a dialogue

14 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.47

Pakistan This Week

13 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.46, Special Brief

Pakistan Budget 2020-21: The First Cut

12 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.44, Special Brief

Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2019-20

07 June 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.38

Pakistan This Week

05 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.36

Highest COVID Spike

04 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.35

Imran receives a briefing at the ISI HQ

03 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.34

Covid cases spike and Lahore becomes the epicentre

01 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.32

Drivers of Karachi Violence

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;

6 April 2020, Monday

Punjab: Surge in Covid-19 cases

2 April 2020, Thursday

Centre extends lockdown to 14th April

25 March 2020, Sunday 

Multiparty conference blames Imran Khan

24 March 2020, Tuesday 

Curfew last option: Imran Khan

21 March 2020, Saturday

Pakistan fights CoronaVirus

5 March 2020, Thursday

26.5 per cent drop in trade deficit

27 January 2020, Monday 

PTI's Punjab problem

27 January 2020, Monday 

For the PTI, all is not well inside Punjab

25 January 2020, Saturday

Pakistan successfully tests Ghaznavi 

16 January 2020, Thursday

PTI's coalition conundrum enlarges

25 November 2019, Wednesday

Terrorism declines in Balochistan during 2019

07 November 2019, Thursday

Azadi march and sit-in

04 November 2019, Monday

Pakistan rejects India's new J&K map

29 October 2019, Tuesday 

Karachi signs a MoU with Qingdao