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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

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

The Fallouts of the All Parties Conference:



The debate on Sharif Statements and Secret Meetings

PR Daily Brief |

Dawn editorial says that the series of leaks and clarifications that have followed the Multi Party Conference has unleashed a storm that has been “igniting a rare public debate about the propriety of meetings between opposition and military leaders”. It says “What is significant here is that, despite the opposition members’ meetings, Mr Sharif launched a blistering attack on the establishment’s alleged role in politics and that the MPC reinforced his position by adopting a tough resolution.” “Why were the ‘disclosures’ made after the MPC? Do they indicate panic? Or are politicians like Sheikh Rashid out to malign the opposition?” it questions. The editorial says that “the series of leaks and political statements of late about such engagements are a strong indicator of the thorny political games and unscrupulous backdoor schemes in progress.” (“Leaks after MPC,” Dawn, 25 September 2020)

Need “clarity from all quarters”
It opines that Minister Rashid gave an impression that the establishment was deeply interested in Pakistan’s politics, a blow to the image of the security apparatus; and that the upcoming weeks would reveal the fate of the formal opposition alliance. The editorial further calls for “clarity from all quarters” and an explanation from the opposition regarding its contacting and meeting with the highest echelons of the security apparatus.

Previously… 
The disclosures come after former PM Nawaz’s explosive speech at the Opposition’s multiparty conference held on 20 September, during which he lashed out at the establishment and called the army “a state above the state in the country”. The conference’s 26-point declaration was also issued at the MPC. Later, on 23 September, the military spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar revealed that former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair had on two occasions reached out to Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss legal and political woes of ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz over the few previous weeks. Gen Iftikar said on the request of Mr Zubair, the latter met the army chief twice, “once in the last week of August and then on September 7 in the presence of director general ISI”. The director-general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Mr Zubair spoke of Mr Nawaz Sharif and Ms Maryam Nawaz. According to Dawn, Major Gen Babar said the COAS during the meetings with PML-N leader and ex-governor Zubair “made it clear to him that their [Sharifs] legal issues would be addressed in court, while political matters were to be dealt with the parliament”. (“PML-N leader’s call on COAS kicks up storm,” Dawn, 24 September 2020)

Meanwhile…
An article argues that the COAS-Maulana meeting Minister Rashid was referring to had taken place in November 2019 with another military superior and not the COAS. (“From Maulana’s ‘meeting’ to Nawaz’s frustration,” The News International, 25 September 2020) Rashid also said he was ready to divulge details regarding the meetings between the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the COAS if the Maulana denied the meeting. He also alleged that the Maulana wanted to intensify sectarian divides within Pakistan. (“Fazl held one-on-one meeting with Gen Bajwa: Sh Rasheed,” The News International, 25 September 2020)

Nawaz bars party members from meeting army in private
Former PM Nawaz Sharif on Thursday barred his party members from meeting military or agency officials in the future without prior permission. The PML-N Chief made the announcement on Twitter a day after Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar disclosed that PML-N member Mohammad Zubair had twice reached out to COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

A day after the Opposition’s multiparty conference, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed revealed that major opposition figures, including PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, its parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Khawaja Asif and secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, had recently met the army chief and ISI Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

Speaking to the television channels later, Mr Zubair confirmed his meeting with the COAS, claimed that he had gone to discuss economic issues but issues relating to Mr Sharif and his daughter Maryam also came up for discussion. PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said the party leadership was satisfied with Mr Zubair’s explanation. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz told reporters that the party leaders met the army chief to discuss the Gilgit-Baltistan issue but also held that political decisions should be taken within parliament, not in the General HQ.” (“Nawaz bars party members from meeting army, agencies people,” Dawn, 25 September 2020 and “No more private meetings with military leaders: Nawaz,” The News International, 25 September 2020)

 
There have been multiple criticisms on the proposed single national curriculum by the PTI government (Image Source: Dawn)

The SNC debate continues: The idea of making English the medium of instruction is outlandish

Zubeida Mustafa’s article looks at the Single National Curriculum. In particular the unresolved aspect of the medium of instruction. She calls the idea of making English the medium of instruction from pre-school to Grade-5 an “outlandish” idea. Zubeida argues that English would distort Pakistan’s education. She says that while Pakistan is divided into two classes: the English-speaking elites and the non-English speaking non-elites, and the government speaks of an “education apartheid”, the SNC will only “promote inequity of the worst kind”.

Zubeida advocates teaching children in their mother tongue and in the national language Urdu. She further elucidates the benefits. She states “When they learn in a language they understand from a teacher who knows pedagogy children will start enjoying their lessons, gain confidence and above all start THINKING and communicating. They will show better understanding of what they are taught. Education will become a participatory exercise as it should be. Above all, students will not suffer from a sense of alienation and inferiority which is being fostered by English.” Zubeida says “We have already dumbed our children by robbing them of their own language and have also failed to teach them English. Is there more to lose?” (“Which language?,” Dawn, 25 September 2020)

 
Pakistan arranges a visit of the diplomats from 24 countries to the Line of Countrol. (Image Source: The News)

Pakistan takes diplomats from 24 countries to the LoC
Foreign diplomats visited the Jura sector on the Line of Control in “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” on Thursday. Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar briefed them about “repeated ceasefire violations by Indian troops.” According to Dawn, 2,333 violations by India have been recorded in which 18 civilians have been martyred and several others injured this year.

The visitors interacted with the "victims of the shelling, witnessed damage on civilian property and protection bunkers." Turkish ambassador Mustafa Yurdakul said the Kashmir dispute needed to be resolved according to UNSC resolutions, the will of Kashmiris, and through  Pakistan-India dialogue. EU envoy Androulla Kaminara said she was accompanying the group to “see and listen to the explanations” on the LoC situation. High Commissioner of South Africa Mthuthuzeli Madikiza hopes to see a solution soon. Iranian Deputy Head of Mission Mr Sorkhabi said his government fully supported the people of Kashmir.

Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Chaudhri in the weekly media briefing said, Islamabad-based ambassadors, diplomats and defence attaches were taken to the LoC to provide them first-hand knowledge of the ground situation. He also called on India to revoke the 1.85 domiciles granted to “non-Kashmiris” since June. (“Diplomats visit LoC, meet survivors of Indian shelling,” Dawn, 25 September 2020)
 

In-Brief
INTERNAL
FATF: Singling out Pakistan
An opinion column in The Nation highlights the selective approach of the FATF in the light of the recent FinCEN leaks. FinCEN is a branch of the US Treasury which receives “suspicious activity reports” (SARs) filed by banks as part of their oversight of transactions. Pakistani SARs amount around $2.5 million out of more than $2 trillion. On the other hand, Indian banking institutions flag $890 million potentially suspicious transactions involving almost all major Indian lenders ($400m outbound and $490m inbound). Further, the biggest money-launderers identified by far include JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon. The author asks why Pakistan is singled out for the FATF’s greylist every time.

The author, however, clarifies that Pakistan needs accountability and transparency but the FATF could attempt a different approach to do so. He also suggests that to address global money laundering, the solution will be to hold accountable those in major world capitals than the third world. (“While FATF sleeps,” The Nation,25 September 2020)

Verdict on Justice Isa soon
The Supreme Court on Thursday dropped hints that it would soon announce the detailed reasons behind the June 19 short order which quashed the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa over non-declaration of three offshore properties in the name of his wife and children.

Earlier, on Feb 13, the bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial told Justice Isa’s lawyer Hamid Khan that the points raised in the appeal by former judge Siddiqui overlapped and were similar to the points being highlighted by Justice Isa. Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui was removed from the high judicial office on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council under Article 209 of the Constitution for displaying conduct unbecoming of a judge for delivering a speech at the District Bar Association (DBA) in Rawalpindi on July 21, 2018.

Now, Justice Bandial has asked Mr Khan to convince the bench how to cross the hurdle of Article 211 of the Constitution that put a bar on challenging before any court the proceedings conducted by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and its report to the president and the removal of the judge under Article 209(6) of the Constitution. The other choice Justice Bandial offered was to wait for the detailed judgement which will be out soon. (“Detailed SC verdict in Justice Isa case soon,” Dawn,25 September 2020)

ON INDIA
On Kashmir and regional peace
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said sustainable peace in the region would remain a dream until the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir is resolved as per the UNSC Resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people. In his virtual address to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA), he said: “India’s illegal and unilateral actions of last August have destroyed life in Indian-held Kashmir.” He called for removing “artificial obstacles” in the way of the regular functioning of the SAARC and reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to host the regional bloc’s summit.
Pakistan was to host the 19th summit of SAARC in November 2016, but India, supported by Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan, forced its postponement by pulling out of the meeting citing “increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in internal affairs of member states by one country. “ (“Regional peace linked to Kashmir solution: FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi,” The News International, 25 September 2020 and “Pakistan calls for removal of ‘artificial hurdles’ in Saarc’s way,” Dawn,25 September 2020)

India is losing the batter in Kashmir, says Dawn
An editorial in the Dawn criticises India’s move to unilaterally change Kashmir’s special status and focuses on the BJP’s tactics to change Kashmir’s demography. The editorial has been written after former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s interview post his release from house arrest.
The editorial criticises New Delhi’s new domicile law “that enables Hindus to settle and buy property in India held Kashmir.” it says that India is trying to “take control of their land by changing its demography and diluting its Muslim and Kashmiri identity.” By doing so, “India has alienated every Kashmiri including its puppets like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.” This move will convert “IHK into a Hindu-majority area and deprive Kashmiris of the political and administrative strength that comes with being a majority in their own land. “

The editorial urges Indian PM Narendra Modi “to return to the path of sanity” and demands restoration of Kashmir's special status. It says the solution to the Kashmir dispute lies in the implementation of the UN resolutions. (“India’s losing battle,” Dawn, 25 September 2020)

PAKISTAN’S WORLD VIEW
International order post-COVID-19 and Pakistan
An opinion column in The News International looks at the possible shifts in the world order post-COVID-19 and Pakistan’s way forward. The author points out at the crumbling liberal international world order centred around the US’ military power and the shift to China, a smart power. He refers to American Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper accusing China and Russia of “expanding and modernizing their armed forces, and extending their capabilities into space and cyber domains, in order to exert greater pressure against other countries.”

Countries like Pakistan would soon be faced with “bandwagoning” and Pakistan has already chosen China. This may lead to deterioration of Pak-US ties. This is a result of strengthening Indo-US ties as a part of Washington’s pivot to Asia to contain China.

Another aspect of the post-COVID world order is the emerging salience of health issues in public discourse. Currently, Pakistan has been spending less than two per cent of its GDP on public health. Thus, the ongoing cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing in the health sector must be continued and expanded beyond Covid-19 and Pakistan should also focus on remaining a security state. (“Pakistan and the post-COVID world,” The News International,25 September 2020)

 


"Mr Zubair twice met the army chief, once in the last week of August and then on September 7 in the presence of director-general ISI...In those meetings, he (Mr Zubair) talked about Mr Nawaz Sharif and Ms Maryam Nawaz.”

-  DG-ISPR on PML-N leader's meeting with the Army Chief

 

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

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

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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

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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

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

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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;