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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

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

Pakistan's pre-conditions for a dialogue with India



An interview by the Special Assistant to the PM on India-Pakistan relations, ADB report and the PDM.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
Pakistan's pre-conditions for a dialogue with India:
India involved in 2014 APS tragedy, says the Special Assistant to the PM

 

Citing the interview given by Special Assistant Prime Minister on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Moeed Yusuf to veteran Indian newsman Karan Thapar for The Wire, an editorial says that, despite "gloomy circumstances", peace can be achieved if there is intent on both sides. It is the first major interview given by a senior Pakistani official to a major Indian news outlet since 5 August 2019 when the Indian government revoked Kashmir's autonomous status. ("A matter of intent," Dawn, 15 October 2020)

New Delhi desires to reopen channels of dialogue with Islamabad
The editorial says that although the interview was "bumpy at times", Yusuf's revelation that the Indian government had dispatched feelers for bilateral talks with Pakistan shows the "constant nationalistic bombast emanating from New Delhi, (indicating that) there may be a desire to reopen the channels for dialogue." 

Kashmir and terrorism are core issues
Yusuf said that while many in India continue to blame Pakistan for sponsoring cross-border terrorism, Islamabad had evidence of India's involvement in the 2014 APS tragedy. The editorial says "with a right-wing Hindu nationalist set-up controlling the levers of power in New Delhi, the anti-Pakistan rhetoric has reached a fever pitch." It opines that since South Asia cannot afford a "perennial state of conflict", New Delhi's attitude must change. Yusuf stated that Pakistan stood for peace and regional growth and that the country wanted to open its eastern border's trade corridor. The article opines that once soft issues such as Sir Creek and people-to-people contacts are addressed, progress on the core issues will be possible.

Quotable
Talks must be meaningful and issue-based. They should not be used as a cover by India to distract the world, particularly from the grim situation in held Kashmir, simply to show the global community that New Delhi is doing all it can to bring peace to South Asia. As the Pakistani official mentioned, there has to be solid intent on the Indian side. Dialogue in itself is not a sign of normalisation; this region has witnessed many episodes where peace was in sight, only for the dream to be dashed before the goal was achieved," says Editorial. "If the stalemate is left as it is, the small window for peace in South Asia may close soon, and it is anybody's guess when it will open again," concludes the article.

National media applauds the SAPM
The Nation says "Yusuf did supremely well to clarify Pakistan's stance on security, bilateral relations, terrorism" and the situation in Kashmir. The article said, "India is an aggressor and Pakistan was the mature, peace-loving neighbor". It said that the most crucial part of the interview was "taking India to task over terrorism." ("A Good Showing," The Nation, 15 October 2020)Another article says Islamabad's conditions for a "meaningful dialogue" are noble, but devoid of practicality. ("Preconditions," The Express Tribune, 15 October 2020)

 
ABD report on the impact of COVID-19 
Shows that livelihoods and food security in Sindh were significantly affected by the virus outbreak and locust attacks
Image Source: The News

 

On 13 October, a survey conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on the farmers in Sindh revealed that COVID-19 and locust swarms had a significant impact on the livelihoods they obtained through agricultural products and disrupted food supply chains significantly. More than 400 farmers were surveyed on the impact of the nationwide lockdown due to the pandemic and the locust invasion. Further, the survey cited that the most challenge aspect for the farmers was their inability to travel to markets and cities and the unavailability of traders to purchase the crops.

The report recommended that although the market disruptions caused by the pandemic and its related policy measures are temporary, the government has to monitor and ensure the functioning of market activities and the availability of agricultural inputs, as requested by farmers. Further, concerning the locust swarms, the government would need to mitigate the damage already caused as well as invest in long-term measures to help farmers and communities prepare for future locust swarms. (Amin Ahmed, "Covid-19, locusts affected livelihoods of Sindh's farmers: ADB survey," Dawn, 15 October 2020)

COVID-19 and restrictions on food supply chains 
The report stated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of the farm households reported lower food consumption and one- third of them reported lower earnings. The lockdown significantly disrupted food supply chains across all major agricultural products including wheat, vegetables, fruits, and milk with most respondents reporting being unable to market their produce. Over 65 per cent of wheat farmers and more than 67 per cent of fruit and vegetable farmers reported difficulties with selling their produce. Tomato farmers experienced an even more severe outcome with over 32 per cent being unable to market their produce at all. Further, the lockdown effectively halted most non-agricultural economic activities, with a potentially detrimental impact on food supply chains.

Locust swarms and food security
The survey reported that almost all respondents from Upper Sindh reported locust swarms, with over a third of Lower Sindh respondents stating they had also been affected. Over 91 per cent of respondents stated that their area had been attacked by locusts at least once before spraying. Further, most respondents stated that their fields had been partly damaged by locusts, with 22.8 per cent stating that their fields were largely or completely destroyed by the locust. Further, Upper and Lower Sindh respondents reported an almost universal lack of government response when it came to relief in the form of surveys and spraying. ("Impact of COVID-19 and Locust Swarms on Farm Households in Sindh, Pakistan: Analysis of Data from a Cross-Sectional Survey," Asian Development Bank, 13 October 2020)

An editorial says that the virus outbreak and the locust attack have clearly shown that country is not ready to combat such emergencies
An editorial in the Dawn critical of twin plague which has left deep scars on the economy and the people states that the virus outbreak and the locust attack have clearly shown that the country is not ready to combat such emergencies. Further, it states that although the government took some immediate measures to alleviate the effects, these were temporary or were delayed. The editorial concludes by agreeing with the ADB report which recommended that the government needs to take action to both mitigate the damage already caused and to invest in long-term means to confront such emergencies. ("ADB report," Dawn, 15 October 2020)

 
On the PDM
Karachi gets ready to welcome Maryam Nawaz
Image Source: Dawn

 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's Sindh leaders are leaving no stones unturned to ensure a warm welcome for the party's central leader Maryam Nawaz. On 18 October, she will be attending the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) rally. According to The News International, "In this regard, a meeting held on Tuesday at the Muslim League House, the party's provincial secretariat in Karachi headed by Sindh president Shah Muhammad Shah, to devise a strategy to accord a warm welcome to Maryam on her arrival at the Karachi airport and make the party's presence in the PDM rally visible".

Supporters emotional to welcome Maryam
Khwaja Tariq Nazeer, a PML-N Sindh leader, said Maryam's speech on 18 October would not only boost opposition parties' confidence in the campaign against PTI but would also strengthen PML-N in Karachi. According to Nazeer, supporters are waiting to give Maryam a warm welcome and have intensified efforts for the same. "A major welcoming camp will be set up at the Karachi airport while other camps will be established across the city," he said.

Previously…
Since, the October 1999 coup by General Pervez Musharraf that led to the imprisonment of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif in the Landhi prison, Maryam Nawaz along with her mother regularly visited Karachi to meet the brothers. However, these visits were not political in nature. Post the detention of Shahbaz Sharif, Maryam, who is being viewed as the heir to Nawaz Sharif's political legacy, is spearheading PML-N. 18 October will be her first political appearance in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city base where PML-N has a stronghold. ("PML-N trying to ensure historic welcome for Maryam Nawaz," The News International, 15 October 2020)


In Brief
INTERNAL
Former ISI chief denies claims of seeking resignation from Nawaz
On 14 October, Former DG ISI Lt General (retd) Zaheerul Islam said that he had never sought the resignation of Nawaz Sharif in 2014. He insisted that during the 2014 sit-in, he had been advising the PML-N government to engage the PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehrik politically to end the protest. Recently, Nawaz had claimed that the former ISI chief had conveyed a message to him seeking his resignation "in the middle of the night" in 2014. In 2015, the then Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in a television show had named former Zaheerul Islam for his alleged role in destabilising the Nawaz government during the 2014 sit-ins. ("Ex-DG ISI Zaheerul Islam says he never sought resignation from Nawaz Sharif,The News International, 15 October 2020)

Opinion article says criticism of SNC is misguided 
An opinion column in The News International says it is unfortunate that the Single National Curriculum has fallen prey to speculation and criticism based on suspicion and an urge for professional recognition. The author says, the criticism of the SNC so far are a modernist backlash because of a perceived notion of Islamization through a heavier content of Islamiat in the SNC than before and that the current SNC is a copy of the 2006 curriculum. He calls the criticisms misguided and non-factual. The author urges all stakeholders to support the all-inclusive participatory approach of the SNC and its aspirations to standardize the core educational content, across all streams of education. ("The SNC as 'the way forward'," The News International, 15 October 2020)

SC asks report on Billion Tree Tsunami
On 14 October, the SC criticised the cutting of trees in Kumrat and Swat and said that if the situation remains the same, tourism in KP will come to an end after five years. The Judge asked for an update on the 'Billion Tree Tsunami', adding that forest lands were allotted to private people. He said trees should not be planted on papers only and has asked for a report on the same. The Court has summoned four provincial secretaries of irrigation and forests and sought details from Islamabad Capital Territory on tree plantation alongside streams. ("Don't plant trees on paper, says Supreme Court," The News International, 15 October 2020)

PROVINCES
Ten injured in Quetta grenade attack
On 14 October, seven labourers and three children were injured in a grenade attack by unknown persons in Quetta. The CM of Balochistan said those involved in taking the lives of innocent people must be awarded exemplary punishment and emphasised that the journey to peace, tranquillity and development in Balochistan would continue at any cost. ("Ten injured in Quetta grenade attack," Dawn, 15 October 2020)

Two soldiers martyred, seven injured in separate attacks in N. Waziristan 
On 14 October, two members security personnel were martyred and seven others injured in separate attacks on security posts in Bajaur and North Waziristan tribal districts. Bajaur has witnessed numerous such attacks in which \security forces and civilians have lost their lives. The last such attack from across the Pak-Afghan border happened on Sept 22 in which a Pakistan Army soldier was martyred. ("Soldier martyred in attack from across Afghan border," Dawn, 15 October 2020)

KU graduate's food stall indicates dire unemployment 
A 22-year old Economics postgraduate from Karachi University recently started a food stall after waiting months for a job. Despite having a job experience, the man was unable to secure a job amid the pandemic. He claimed all politicians make false promises before elections but do not do anything for the youth, referring to Imran Khan's promise of providing two million jobs. According to The News' academic sources, the pandemic hit at a time when the country was already suffering from an economic crisis. They predicted that the graduated and graduating students will hardly secure jobs in the coming months if the economic situation of the country remained the same leading to increased crime rates. ("With no degree-related jobs available, KU economics graduate sets up food stall," The News International, 15 October 2020)

ON THE PDM
Five factors that will shape the outcome of the PDM
In his Red Zone Files series, Fahd Husain says the PDM's maiden rally tomorrow will mark a critical point in the post-2018 politics of the country and will provide a reflection of what lies ahead in the next few months. Fahd says there are five aspects of these political developments that would shape the situation: the PDM's first power-packed jalsa to fire up the campaign and put the government under pressure, the government's response to the rally, the Opposition highlighting the crippling economy, managing Punjab the epicentre of the campaigns, and the government's response on to what the Opposition has to say about the Establishment. ("Red Zone Files: All roads lead to Gujranwala," Dawn, 15 October 2020)

ON WATER CRISIS 
Editorial on hurdles to addressing Pakistan's water crisis
An editorial in The Nation says Pakistan loses water since due to a lack of a proper storage mechanism. The editorial cites the recent roundtable by the Centre for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS) and Hanns Seidel Foundation focussing on Pakistan's poor water management and storage policies. The editorial says poor water management, weak water infrastructure, red-tapism, climatic changes and lack of awareness are the main hurdles to secure and store water to satisfy Pakistan's requirements. It suggests that Pakistan follows Singapore's holistic Four National Taps policy which calls for water resources management, conservation and sustainability. ("The Looming Water Crisis," The Nation, 15 October 2020)

EXTERNAL
Foreign Minister calls on Commonwealth for debt relief solutions
On 14 October, Qureshi asked the Commonwealth to launch a dialogue over deeper and sustained debt relief for developing countries for the fast and sustained economic recovery of these countries. He said it was a matter of concern that the pandemic had been accompanied by a spike in intolerance, violence and racial discrimination across the globe. He said a South Asian country was targeting specific religious and ethnic groups to foment division and hatred among communities. Qureshi also spoke about climate change and said despite Pakistan's limited contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, it was among the most climate-vulnerable countries. ("FM calls for talks on debt relief for developing countries," Dawn, 15 October 2020)

 


"As Dr Yusuf pointed out, the core issues affecting bilateral ties remain Kashmir and terrorism. While many in India like to repeat the mantra of Pakistan sponsoring cross-border terrorism, the SAPM revealed that this country had evidence that India was involved in the 2014 APS tragedy. Moreover, with a right-wing Hindu nationalist set-up controlling the levers of power in New Delhi, the anti-Pakistan rhetoric has reached a fever pitch.”

 Editorial, Dawn on India-Pakistan relations.

 

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