Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

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

PDM's first rally set to take off

The PDM rally that is getting ready in Gujranwala and the attack on security forces in Balochistan.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
PDM's first rally set to take off :
PML-N, PPP and JUI-F promise to turn the Gujranwala rally into a 'big power show'


On 16 October as the Opposition initiates its first rally in Gujranwala under the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) banner, vows to turn the Gujranwala rally into a 'big power show.' Further, they accepted Information Minister challenge of filling the Jinnah Stadium in the city with its activists and call for the minister resignation if so. 

Further, with Gujranwala being a stronghold of PML-N has asked its workers and supporters across Punjab to reach the venue while Maulana Fazlur Rehman has also committed to bringing a large number of his followers. Further, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is expected to lead PPP workers to the venue as well. (Ali Raza, Mumtaz Alvi, "Opposition confident of Gujranwala power show," The News International, 16 October 2020)

PML-N secretary-general stated, "I would like to remind Imran Niazi that he had promised to give the opposition a container for protesting… now he will have to listen — 'Go Imran, go' — from 220 million people of the country for making their lives miserable."

A senior PLM-N leader stated, "we have ensured that Friday's power show is phenomenal as this will decide the fate of the PTI government. All leaders of the opposition are convinced that this rally will set the momentum for ouster of the government."

District administration removes all banners related to Gujranwala rally 
On 15 October, the administration removed all the banners and posters related to the opposition's rally in the provincial capital. The district administration of Gujranwala and Lahore remained on high alert to deal with any untoward situation. Further, the Deputy Commissioner of Gujranwala granted a NOC to the PDM for holding the rally at Jinnah Park and directed the participants of the public meeting to wear face masks and observe social distancing. Further, "As per the notification, the organisers are prohibited to allow the entry of members of banned outfits inside the venue and on stage… (and) their speeches are also not allowed. Slogans and speeches against the state institutions are prohibited." Further, the Punjab police have booked over 400 workers of the PDM, mostly from the PML-N, for reportedly violating the Covid-19 SOPs during corner meetings. On the other hand, the PTI government has placed several containers on the roads. (Zulqernain Tahir, "Stage set for PDM power show in Gujranwala," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

BNP condemns the PDM
On 15 October, a procession led by the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) activists in Dalbandin condemned the PDM, alleging that some politicians were playing into the hands of enemy forces. Further, BAP district president who led the rally said that corrupt leaders of opposition parties could not cause any harm to the government by holding public demonstrations. (Ali Raza Rind, "BAP holds rally against PDM in Dalbandin," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

Opinions say that more popular unrest can be expected, with more defensive administrative measures to come
An opinion in the Dawn states "More popular unrest can be expected as class and other deprivations intensify. If there is some bark in the anti-establishment bite of our 'real' democrats, they will have to take a stand for the 99 per cent. If not, expect yet more speculative discussions at roadside tea stalls, in middle-class drawing rooms, and government offices about a game of musical chairs with no end in sight." (Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, "For the 99pc," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

An opinion in the Dawn states that the PTI government will resort to defensive administrative measures as a means to minimise the impact of the PDM which could effectively launch the next generation of the Sharif family into politics. In this light, the opinion says that those around PM Khan must help him rationalise as the opposition sets off on this expedition to discover the old martial tribe. The opinion concludes by stating that PM Khan may try to be less confrontational until the battle arrives in Islamabad adding that, his advisers must know that an Imran Khan in his element, his classic aggressive, know-it-all, no-nonsense self, suits the mixed band of Bilawals, Maryams and maulanas out there. (Asha'ar Rehman, "Countdown — to mediation?," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

Twenty security personnel killed in two terrorist attacks
BRAS and TTP claim responsibility
Image Source: Dawn


Two terrorist attacks, on late 14 and 15 October, in the Ormara area and North Waziristan tribal district of Baluchistan martyred twenty security personnel, including six army men. Seven OGDCL guards were also among victims. On 14 October, two improvised explosive devices blew up army vehicles killing six troops including a Pak Army captain. The following day an armed attack took the lives of seven Frontier Corps personnel and seven civilian guards employed by the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited.

ISPR statement
As per an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement, they were escorting a convoy of the OGDCL staff from Gwadar to Karachi. The statement said that the safe exit of the OGDCL staff was ensured. It added that the terrorists had also incurred substantial losses. As per Dawn, a banned militant organization Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar (BRAS) and TTP have claimed responsibility for the attack via Twitter.

"My deepest condolences & prayers for the 20 security personnel, including 6 army men, martyred in 2 cowardly acts of terrorism yesterday. The entire nation stands behind all our security forces as they continue to lay down their lives for the safety & security of Pakistan," tweeted Imran Khan. Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and Home Minister Zia Langove also condemned the assault. ("20 security personnel martyred in two attacks," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

The TikTok ban in Pakistan 
Islamabad High Court seeks explanation
Image Source: The Express Tribune


On 15 October, the IHC sought an explanation from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for banning video-sharing application TikTok and alleged abuse of power by the PTA. The petitioner was not against regulating the application but was aggrieved at the prohibition imposed by the PTA t in violation of the provisions of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act. The Court observed that the PTA is not empowered to pass an order or take action under Section 37 of Peca. Further, in 2018, the IHC disposed of a petition and observed that the PTA cannot block any website without framing rules. ("Court seeks PTA explanation over TikTok ban," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

In Brief
Editorial says common man bears the burden of economic crisis 
An editorial in The Express Tribune says the government's economic stabilisation model adopted in 2018 is problematic in the current economic scenario combined with the pandemic. The editorial cites the recent IMF projections which set Pakistan's growth rate at one per cent. While the government's model may help fix the fiscal imbalances in the long run by reducing imports, the common man pays dearly for it. The editorial says for the common man, this step of the government means loss of jobs and additional tax burden on the common man. ("IMF projections," The Express Tribune, 16 October 2020)

Pakistan signs $1,150m accord with World Bank for KP power projects
On 15 October, Imran Khan signed two financing agreements worth $1,150 million with the World Bank. A $450 million KP Hydropower and Renewable Energy Development Project will support the construction of 88MW Gabral-Kalam Hydropower Project and 157MW Madyan Hydropower Project. Similarly, evacuation of power from the Dasu Hydropower (Phase-I) project worth $700m is meant for transmission of power from the 2,160MW from the Dasu project to Islamabad. ("$1,150m accord signed with WB for two KP power projects," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

Indian High Commission seeks release of Indian prisoners from Pakistan 
On 15 October, The Indian High Commission on Thurs­day filed a petition in the IHC seeking the release of those Indian citizens who had been convicted of spying by Pakistan's military courts. The petition seeks release of four prisoners who had completed their prison terms. The Court will hear the petition on 16 October (today). ("India approaches IHC for spies' release on jail terms completion," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

Pakistan tells India to create an environment for resuming talks
On 15 October, Pakistani Foreign Office responded to India's offer to resume talks. The FO spokesperson said India should cease its "illegal and unilateral actions, end state-terrorism against Kashmiri people, and agree to resolve the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions and wishes of Kashmiris." He said Pakistan strongly condemned the "malicious Indian propaganda against the longstanding and close Pakistan-China friendship." Meanwhile, Foreign Office summoned an Indian diplomat to register Pakistan's protest over the "ceasefire violations by Indian occupation forces along the LoC on 14 October. ("India told to create enabling environment for talks resumption," Dawn, 16 October 2020)

Opinion column on the uncertainty of Afghanistan's political future
An opinion column in The Express Tribune says the recent US airstrikes against the Taliban is complicating the US exit from the region. However, it is unlikely that the US will increase military power in the region. The author says the political future of Afghanistan remains uncertain but it is likely that the Taliban will assume a dominant position while Ashraf Ghani will certainly need to give up significant amounts of power. He says the Taliban cannot go back to their old ways as they would not want to be isolated by the West. He hopes that the new constitutional setup will allow for equitable resolution of differences between various competing groups through adequate devolution of power. ("The political future of Afghanistan," The Express Tribune, 15 October 2020)



"I left at 2 pm and I haven’t still been able to cross Shahdra Lahore. There is an ocean of people front, back, right & left. This is unprecedented.”

 Maryam Nawaz Sharif on her way to Gujranwala.

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