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Daily Briefs


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

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



Pakistan's Ahmadi conundrum, a 20 point plan to promote sectarian agenda, and the controversy over filing sedition case against the Opposition leaders

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
20-point 'code of conduct' to promote sectarian harmony
Clerics belonging to all schools of thought endorse the code to promote inter-sect harmony and end sectarianism

On 6 October, religious leaders belonging to most mainstream schools of thought endorsed a 20-point 'code of conduct' to promote inter-sect harmony and end sectarianism discord in the country. This code was issued at the Paigham-i-Pakistan conference organized by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

The code has been signed by pertinent authorities and top leaders belonging to Islam's four mainstream schools of thought in the country, Barelvi, Shia, Deobandi and Ahle Hadees.

Main principles of the code of conduct
The code of conduct states that all citizens in Pakistan should fulfil their oath of allegiance to the state, and the freedom of expression is subject to Islam and laws of the land. It states that no person shall make hate speech in mosques, imambargahs or at any religious or social gathering.

It also states that etiquette of dissent will be included in the curriculum of public, private and religious educational institutions. Further, accepting that it is the right of individuals to preach one's doctrines and beliefs, but hate or baseless accusations against any person, institution or sect will not be allowed. 

Similarly, it states that no individual has the right to declare a member of the government, armed forces or other security agencies as infidels and that it is the responsibility of media personnel to ensure no programme that could incite sectarian hatred and damage Islamic identity of Pakistan are aired. 

It adds that no one is to promote terrorism, mental or physical training or recruitment for terrorism, and the definition of a Muslim is the same as that which is written in the Constitution of Pakistan. Ulema, mashaikhs and the people from all walks of life should give their full support to law enforcement agencies and the armed forces of the country to end violence in society.

The code also covers social issues mostly related to the suppression of women's rights in some parts of the country in the name of Islam. It states that Islam protects women's rights, their education, employment and voting rights which will be protected and the role of clerics is stressed to curb certain traditions like honour killings, marriages from the Holy Quran, vani, karokari. (Kalbe Ali, "20-point 'code of conduct' issued to promote inter-sect harmony," Dawn, 7 October 2020)

 

 

Government and the Opposition: The battles have begun
Ex-FIA discloses PM's pressure to frame the Opposition

Image Source: Dawn

Former chief of the FIA Bashir Memon has accused Imran Khan of pressuring him to prosecute main opposition leaders on serious charges like fake company cases, terrorism and treason even without evidence. Memon said he was asked to charge such cases against leaders like Maryam Nawaz and former defence minister Khawaja Asif. Memon, who resigned in protest, said everything that NAB has done so far today is exactly what the PM wanted from him. ("Ex-FIA chief claims PM told him to bait opposition," Dawn, 7 October 2020)

No plan to block Opposition's public meetings: Govt
On 6 October, Information Minister Shibli Faraz, in a press conference, reiterated that neither the government nor Imran PM had anything to do with the FIR lodged against Nawaz. He also announced that the government had no plans to block the Opposition's public meetings. According to Dawn's sources, the FIRs came under discussion in the cabinet meeting and the many members stressed the need for making efforts to bring Nawaz back to Pakistan. In the press conference, Shibli also said the cabinet and PM expressed concerns over the prevailing inflation. ("No plan to ban public meetings of opposition, says Shibli," Dawn, 7 October 2020)

Sedition law, a Draconian curse
On 6 October, the FIR controversy took a new turn when its complainant turned out to be a PTI worker having a criminal record. Meanwhile, Punjab government removed Raja Farooq Haider's name from the FIR after criticism as the move could be damaging for the Kashmir cause. Also, questions were raised over how a station house officer was empowered to register a sedition case against former PMs, former army officers, sitting ministers. An editorial in Dawn says "that the PM of Azad Jammu and Kashmir was booked under this controversial law is preposterous and makes a mockery of Pakistan's principled stand on Kashmir." ("Sedition case controversy takes new turn," Dawn, 7 October 2020; "The 'sedition' label," Dawn, 7 October 2020)

An opinion column in Dawn says that sedition laws have been used with impunity as a tool to suppress fundamental democratic rights in Pakistan. The author says Politics seems to have descended into sheer vulgarity with rival groups questioning each other's patriotism. He says, labelling the opposition' anti-state' and 'Indian agents' indicates the government's weakness and state of panic and such actions have brought the opposition parties together to challenge the PTI. ("Anti-state mantraDawn, 7 October 2020)
 


In-Brief
INTERNAL 
Terrorism cannot be addressed selectively, says Amb Munir Akram
On 6 October at a UN meeting, Pakistan's Permanent Representative Ambassador Munir Akram said the country was committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms because a selective approach would not work. He said terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, over the decades, had taken almost 70,000 lives and caused $120 billion of economic losses. He also spoke in support of the US-Taliban agreement and extended support to Afghanistan. On Kashmir, the Ambassador said "The Kashmiri struggle cannot be suppressed by India's attempt to equate it with terrorism." ("Pakistan urges world not to be selective in fighting terrorism," Dawn, 7 October 2020)

COAS inaugurates tech park, visits Skardu
On 6 October, the COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa inaugurated Software Technology Park, an initiative of the Special Communication Organisation (SCO), in Gilgit. The COAS also visited Skardu where he was briefed on the latest situation along the LoC and operational preparedness of the Frontier Corps Northern Areas and Army troops deployed there. ("Bajwa inaugurates Software Technology Park in GilgitDawn, 7 October 2020)

Dawn editorial condemning Ahmadi killing 
An editorial in Dawn condemns the killing of Ahmadi professor Dr Naeemuddin Khattak. The editorial urges the State to confront the pattern of violence against Ahmadis or other groups before the violence turns into vigilantism. The editorial says protest marches organized over the past few weeks show that sectarian groups with a history of violence which may have kept a low profile can mobilize at very short notice if needed. It ends by saying if the toxic trend is left unchecked, it may take Pakistan back to the old days of targeted killings and attacks on places of worship. ("Professor's murder," Dawn, 7 October 2020)

FATF requirements have been met: SECP 
On 6 October, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Chairman said that all the requirements of the FATF have been met and suspicious transactions related to money laundering and terror financing are being monitored efficiently. He was speaking at the inauguration of the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). The newly launched ETFs are NIT Pakistan Gateway Exchange Traded Fund, UBL Pakistan Enterprise Exchange Traded Fund, Meezan Pakistan Exchange Traded Fund, and NBP Pakistan Growth Exchange Traded Fund. ("SECP has met all FATF conditions, says chairman," Dawn, 7 October 2020)

PAKISTAN'S WORLD VIEW
Pakistan's crossroads in Palestine
An opinion column in The News International highlights the issues Pakistan would have with recognizing Israel. The author says The Palestinian problem for non-Arab Muslims, including Pakistanis is more of a Muslim or Ummah issue than just an Arab issue. He says For Pakistan, to even implicitly support the Kushner plan by recognizing Israel would be to render its Kashmir policy completely non-credible. However refraining from recognizing Israel or accept India's position in Kashmir will cost Pakistan its diplomatic relations, economic benefits etc. the author says, outside the context of a moral and political imperative, realism or pragmatism provide little or no policy direction. ("Questions of recognition," The News International, 7 October 2020)

India shy to join proceedings on Jadhav: IHC
On 6 October, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) observed that the Indian government is reluctant to join proceedings or avail the remedies provided under the ICJ (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020 in the matter related to the "Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav's" death sentence. The Court has deferred the hearing November 11 for further proceedings in the matter. ("India shy to avail remedy related to spy-terrorist death sentence, observes IHC," The Nation, 7 October 2020)

Pakistan and the US Presidential elections 
An opinion column in The Express Tribune looks at Pakistan in the light of US elections. The author says, the US would remain engaged with Pakistan in ensuring that it continues to prod the Taliban leadership toward having a more flexible approach during peace negotiations. However, Pakistan's present political situation would be perceived by the incoming US administration with disdain. He says if a Democratic administration is established, the reduction of US-Iran hostility and easing of embargoes on Iran would be in the interest of Pakistan and the region. The author also highlights the nuclear arms race and hopes that Biden will limit the arms race. This may embolden India to pursue its nuclear ambitions more aggressively under the claim of countering the Chinese threat. ("US presidential election and its impact on the region," The Express Tribune, 7 October 2020) 

 

 


"We have decided to implement the 20 points at grass-roots level, which is essential to impart the knowledge about the decision made by the top clerics among the masses...Currently, the most serious challenge faced by our society in this regard is that the stage of religious events is in the hands of extremists and less educated cleric.”

-  Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony, on the 20-points code to promote sectarian harmony

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