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Photo : Dawn

26 September 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.143

J&K will never be a part of India, says Pakistan’s UN representative



PR Daily Brief |

Rebuking the response from New Delhi to Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech at the 75thUnited Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Pakistan’s representative at the forum Zulqarnain Chheena stated that “Jammu and Kashmir never was and never will be a part of India”. Chheena said "In Jammu and Kashmir, India has no other claim than that of a military occupier. It is compelled to use naked force to impose its occupation on an unwilling and oppressed people. Ask the people of Jammu and Kashmir and they will tell you emphatically: Jammu and Kashmir is not a part of India. It never was and never will be". (“Kashmir will never be a part of India: Pakistan responds to Indian statement on PM's UNGA speech,” Dawn, 26 September 2020) The representative added that Pakistan and the Islamic world stood with the people of Kashmir. During the UNGA session, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had also raised his voice in support of the Kashmiri people and called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. He said “The Kashmir conflict, which is key to the stability and peace of South Asia, is still a burning issue”. (Erdogan links peace in S. Asia to Kashmir issue settlement,” Dawn, 24 September 2020)

Another attempt to deflect from real issues, says Pakistan

Cheena said that the Indian reply was nothing but "another shameful attempt to deflect attention away from the real issues…India, however, will not be able to escape accountability for its crimes. In his statement, the prime minister shed a spotlight on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's India which is defined by its oppressive and brutal occupation of the land and resources of Jammu and Kashmir.” Emphasizing that UNSC recognized J&K as an internationally disputed territory, he said “The final disposition of the state will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through democratic methods of a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the UN.” He said: “The Kashmiris have a legitimate right to resist occupation by all means at their disposal. This just struggle cannot be denigrated or described as terrorism. It it the occupying state that is guilty of terrorism against the occupied people. Like all oppressors India continues to believe it can subdue the legitimate Kashmiri resistance through brute force. In its playbook, the alternative to suppression is even more suppression. But like all colonial oppressors of the past, India will fail in its strategy of occupation and oppression. Kashmir will be free one day. This is not only a lesson of history, it is also an imperative of justice,” Chheena added.

The Context: Imran Khan’s speech and New Delhi’s response

Imran Khan says “India is planning misadventure”

According to Dawn, during his UNGA speech on 25 September, PM Khan warned the international community “that India was planning another “ill-conceived misadventure” in a “nuclearised environment,” but Pakistan was ready to “fight for its freedom to the end””. He said “In order to divert attention from its illegal actions and atrocities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, India is playing a dangerous game of upping the military ante against Pakistan in a nuclearised strategic environment”. PM Khan called for action from UNSC to prevent the spiraling of the Kashmir dispute which could jeopardise the regional security. “I want to make it clear that any attempt by the fascist totalitarian RSS-led Indian government to aggress against Pakistan will be met by a nation that will fight for its freedom to the end,” he added. (“PM tells UN India is planning misadventure,” Dawn, 26 September 2020) (“At UNGA, PM Imran says 'wilful provocation' to hate should be 'universally outlawed',” Dawn, 26 September 2020)

Indian envoy walks out during PM Khan’s speech

The Indian delegate at the UNGA session, Mijito Vinito, walked out during the airing of Mr Khan’s pre-recorded UNGA speech. Soon after, India’s Permanent Representative at the UN TS Tirumurti took to twitter. He wrote, “PM of Pakistan statement a new diplomatic low - at 75th UN General Assembly. Another litany of vicious falsehood, personal attacks, warmongering and obfuscation of Pakistan's persecution of its own minorities and of its cross-border terrorism”. Later, the Indian government responded to Mr Khan’s speech by accusing it of being “full of lies, misinformation and warmongering”. (“Indian Envoy Walks Out As Pak PM Imran Khan Begins Speech At UN,” NDTV, 26 September 2020)

In-Brief

INTERNAL

Crucial six months for the Opposition

An opinion column in theDawn suggests a possible way forward the Opposition can take to challenge the government before March, when the PTI and its allies would gain a comfortable majority in the Senate and increase control on both houses of parliament.

The author says that in the coming weeks, the government may try various tactics to hinder the momentum of the Opposition. These include refusal of permission for venues to hold rallies, clamping of Section 144 and the like. The PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif holds that they are against the establishment and not PM Imran Khan. The party may resort to establish a relationship with the government but leverage it as a bargaining tool for greater political space. Within the Opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been insisting on the Opposition resigning from the Parliament. Now, PPP leaders like Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari need to choose carefully between PML-N’s anti-establishment position and Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s do-or-die politics. 

On the other hand, the author says PM Khan just has to keep the Opposition under maximum pressure while minimising the chances of any untoward incident at PDM’s public engagement events. (“Knight moves,” Dawn, 26 September 2020)

Opposition trying to cause army-govt rift: Imran

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that the opposition wanted to create a rift between the government and armed forces. Mr Khan said the army followed the manifesto of the PTI because its leadership was not corrupt; he rejected the impression that the PTI government came into power with the army’s help.

Mr Khan said he was aware of the meetings between some Opposition members and the COAS and ISI Director General. He said the meeting was called from security point of view to brief the heads of political parties taking part in upcoming elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and he has no need to attend the meeting.  He said he would not give any National Reconciliation Ordinance-like relief to the “corrupt politicians” and that former PM Pervez Musharaff committed a mistake by doing so. He took the opportunity to say that he allowed airing of his Nawaz’s recent speech on TV channels to “give a level-playing field” to the opposition who he believes is “toeing an agenda of India.”

Mr Khan also mentioned that India wants to create unrest in GB and a sectarian crisis in Pakistan by killing religious leaders of Shia and Sunni sects of Islam. (“Opposition trying to cause army-govt rift: Imran, Dawn, 26 September 2020)

Rushing to open schools

An editorial in The Nationand an opinion column in The News International both ask whether opening schools has been rushed amid rising Covid-19 cases. 

There was a dire need to open schools owing to poor connectivity, lack of equipment to sustain online education, limited resources and the depreciating quality of instruction. However, the need for education has to be balanced against the need to safeguard health. In the first phase of opening, various universities experienced reported cases of Covid-19 and closed down again. Things are likely to become more confusing for decision makers when primary and lower secondary classes reopen. While elite schools can afford PPE kits for their staff and health checks, many other scholls face infrastructural challenges to enforce social distancing measures; some do not even have hand washing facilities. The pandemic brings out the societal inequalities and once again shows the poorest will suffer the risk of catching the virus. 

On the other hand psychologists say it is essential that children go to school and associate with peers otherwise children will miss out permanently on socialising. While the ethical dilemma continues, one of the authors says life and welfare should come ahead of everything else. (“School closure,The Nation, 26 September 2020 and “Rushing to reopen?The News International, 26 September 2020)

Hindus protest outside Indian embassy

Thousands of members of Hindu Community from across the country have reached Islamabad to protest the deaths of 11 Pakistani Hindus who died mysteriously last month in India’s Jodhpur region.  The Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), headed by MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar has decided to stage a sit-in in front of the Indian High Commission. The protesters believe that the 11 were poisoned by the Indian intelligence agencies to spew hate against Pakistan. They also raised suspicion over the Indian media’s reporting of the incident as a suicide. 

Mr Kumar clarified that they did not want to enter the Embassy and cause damage. Their main demand was a transparent investigation into the incident and that all the human rights organizations worldwide should take notice of such brutal killings of Pakistani Hindus in Modi’s India. (“Hindus protest outside Indian embassy over migrant deaths  in India,” The Nation, 26 September 2020)

ECONOMY

PPP slams hike in power tariff and essential goods’ prices 

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday slammed the government for hike in power tariff and essential items during the current unemployment and extreme inflation. Senate Sherry Rehman told reporters that the increase in price of electricity is a blow to the business industry which is already suffering losses due to Covid-19 restrictions and devastating rains. 

On the recent increase in prices of medicines, Ms Rehman said a 260 per cent hike in prices of 94 life-saving drugs had been witnessed. She alleged that the government had bowed down to the medicine, sugar and wheat mafias while there is no relief for people affected by Covid-19. (“PPP slams hike in power tariff, prices of essential goods,”Dawn, 26 Sepember 2020)

Steep increase in food prices 

The prices of ginger and tomato have increased to Rs 600 per kg and Rs150-160, a sharp increase by Rs 200 and Rs 60 per kg respectively. A wholesale seller said ginger prices swelled due to thin arrival of Chinese variety and importers are bringing in Thailand ginger to cover up demand and supply gap. 

Wheat and sugar prices - Flour millers in Sindh reduced the price of flour as Ukraine wheat imports continue to flourish and locally-produced wheat prices dropped to Rs 5,100 per 100 kg bag from Rs 5,200. Cereal Association of Pakistan Chairman Muzammil Chappal said that imported wheat averted a major jump in flour prices so far and ensured availability of wheat in the market.

The private sector had imported around 7,000 - 8,000 tonnes of sugar from Egypt and the UAE this week and 15,000 - 20,000 tonnes would arrive next week. Mr Chappal said that though the private sector signed agreements for duty-free import of 200,000 tonnes of sweetener, if the 17 percent GST is not removed, the import of sugar would not provide any relief; sugar is currently sold at Rs 95 per kg. (“Vegetable prices jump as shortages increase,Dawn, 26 September 2020)

PAKISTAN’S WORLD VIEW

Calling for enduring peace in Afghanistan

Prime Minister Imran Khan in a telephonic conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani urged warring Afghan factions to cooperate for lowering violence in Afghanistan to achieve enduring peace. The conversation took place ahead of the upcoming visit of chairman of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Dr Abdullah Abdullah to Islamabad, likely to begin on Monday. 

Kabul is demanding a ceasefire but Taliban do not agree with it and are linking the lowering of violence to progress in the peace process. However, there has been an increase in violence which can potentially cause setbacks for the ongoing intra-Afghan talks in Doha. Assuring full support to the Afghans, Mr Khan said that all Afghan stakeholders must seize this historic opportunity and work together to secure an inclusive and comprehensive political agreement through the Afghan-led and Afghan-owed process. (“PM stresses warring groups’ cooperation for peace in Afghanistan, Dawn, 26 September 2020)

ON INDIA

On India’s recent farm bills 

An opinion column inThe Nationtalks about the newly passed farm bills in India. The author begins by criticising the Indian media for diverting attention from the Bharat Bandh which commenced on September 25, by focussing on drugs in Bollywood and witch-hunt of actresses. He then goes on to explain how the three bills will facilitate crony capitalism in India. 

Indian farmers are protesting because of the fear that once the prevailing system of the Agriculture Produce Market Committees collapses, private operators/traders/commission agents will dictate prices of their produce. He says Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, both who have heavily invested in agro business are going to benefit from these bills, along with other MNCs. According to the author, the bills were a deliberate favour by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to these corporate tycoons who have been funding the BJP. 

He concludes by saying: the Indian parliament, dominated by RSS goons, has created an environment where the hardworking but poor farmer of India becomes an eternal slave of corporate India. (“Capitalism vs the Indian farmer,The Nation, 26 September 2020)

 

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