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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

17 October 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.161

PDM's first rally takes off to a great start in Gujranwala



The PDM rally in Gujranwala which looks like a great beginning for the the Opposition; internal critiques on the TikTok ban; and developments within the National Assembly

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

 

In Focus
PDM's first rally takes off to a great start in Gujranwala:
Opposition leaders promise to dislodge the "selected and incapable" PTI government in weeks

On 16 October, the 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in what was seen as an impressive show of strength in Gujranwala promised to dislodge "selected and incapable" PTI government in weeks, declaring their first rally as a public referendum against the same. Further, the ally was addressed by the PDM top tier including Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Mahmood Achakzai among others. (Zulqernain Tahir, "'Selected' PTI govt to be sent packing in weeks: PDM," Dawn, 17 October 2020)

Nawaz Sharif reiterated his determination to change the system
Nawaz Sharif while addressing the PDM'S rally via a video link from London, accused the security establishment of being behind his ouster as prime minister and for "bringing Imran Khan into power." He went on to criticize the PTI-led government for "failing to do its job" and said people were paying for its "incompetence" Further, he reiterated his resolution to change the system, and target those who operated from behind the curtains. ("Nawaz accuses security establishment of orchestrating his ouster, bringing Imran to power," Dawn, 17 October 2020)

Statements made by the other PDM leaders
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the PDM's president, took the stage last, criticizing the government stated, "Fake rulers are about to meet their fate," adding, "the sun of democracy is about to rise soon. If you remain undaunted, this government will not see the month of December."

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari bashed the PTI government, saying that the cricketer-turned-politician did not have any solution to the problems of the poor, adding that "the selectors and the selected" will have to come on the Opposition's page otherwise they will be removed.

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz stated she was fighting for the businesses that had been destroyed during the PTI government's tenure and the journalists who were being censored. Further, she added, that no one had the right to oust elected representatives of the people adding, "It is you [masses] who should form governments and oust them as well." ("Gujranwala jalsa: PDM tells PM Imran Khan his govt's days are numbered," The News International, 17 October 2020)

PM Imran Khan says not threatened by the opposition even if it arranges a rally every day 
PM Imran Khan while stating that all the dacoits have gathered again labelled the opposition members as jobless adding that there was no need to give them importance. Further, he reiterated that the opposition is free to hold rallies on a daily basis as the government feels no threat from the NAB-infected elements. He also is reported to have said that the government fully understands the situation and will control the situation soon, adding that the policies of the past rulers are responsible for the current state of affairs. (No threat even if opposition arranges a rally a day: PM Imran KhanThe News International, 17 October 2020)

Opinions say that the first rally of the PDM was a box office success with the tide definitely set to rise
An opinion in the Dawn says that with politics back on the streets, the first rally of the PDM is a box office success, thus for Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto and Maulana Rehman, this means their sails have caught the wind and they are more on stranger tides as their machinery has had its first run and it is warmed up. However, for the government, PDM's first rally should be of concern as the increasing pressure of the campaign is going to further toll on its already dismal performance. Thus, the opinion says that the government now has built no narrative to soften these blows and the only way to do this is by adjusting its narrative according to changed realities and somehow get the inflation under control. The opinion concludes by stating that the rising tide does recede, however, what it leaves in its wake is what matters. (Fahd Husain, "Rising tide," Dawn, 17 October 2020)

An opinion in the Nation while pointing out to the fixing of the national assembly sitting for a Friday afternoon shows that panic has been dictating the government behaviour these days, adding that it was naive to presume that this could overshadow the event in Gujranwala. Further, the opinion states that the opposition is only going to act far more aggressively during the days to come. (Nusrat Javeed, "The tide is definitely set to turn from now on," The Nation, 17 October 2020)

 
National media criticizes Centre's ban on TikTok
"How do you fix a country like this," asks an opinion
Image Source: Dawn

 

An opinion article in the Dawn critical of Pakistan's TikTok ban. The author Irfan Husain criticizes the incumbent government for ignoring pressing issues of the pandemic, poverty, unemployment, massive fiscal problems, illiteracy and malnutrition in a country of 220 million and focusing on an app that is popular amongst the youngsters. "How do you fix a country like this?" he asks. Husain says that PTI is squeezing the middle class out of existence and pushing the poor against the wall. "The ruling coalition threaten all major social networking firms with closure unless they move major offices and servers to Pakistan. They can face fines of up to Rs500m for non-compliance with local regulations. When the solutions are too difficult, the PTI's approach is to go for easy, but irrelevant, ones. The leaders can thus be seen doing something, even if it's useless," he opines. ("Take that, TikTok," Dawn, 17 October 2020)

Why trust the "nanny state" with your kids, asks an opinion 

Another Opinion cites a PTA official's comment during an interview where he says that a few families had raised their concerns regarding the inappropriate nature of the content on TikTok to PM Imran Khan. He also disagreed to disclose the identities of "the few dozen" that raised these complaints. The article says "our struggle with and against technology is perennial," however "most of the local content on TikTok is banal and harmless." The Opinion asks, "As a parent, would you trust your child to the hands of a teacher you know to be dishonest, undereducated, cruel, corrupt, contemptuous and violent? No? Then why would you trust a nanny state, with the same qualities and which proves itself inept at everything almost daily, to raise your child for you?" ("No country for young people," The News International, 17 October 2020)

Previously…

On 12 October, the Senate Committee on Delegated Legislation criticized the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for banning TikTok. The committee noted that Pakistan must advance according to global development and take corrective measures instead of adopting the isolationist approach. (Kalbe Ali, "Senate committee slams blanket ban on TikTok," Dawn, 13 October 2020) It was following PTA's TikTok ban on 9 October after several warnings as different sections of society continued complaining against indecent and immoral content on the Chinese app. ("Pakistan slaps ban on TikTok over 'indecent content'," Dawn, 10 October 2020) National media had opined that blanket ban is not the solution to address questionable content and asked why moral policing was a top priority for the government. ("TikTok ban," Dawn, 11 October 2020)

 
Imran leaves the National Assembly amid protests
"Why was the session called on Friday when the opposition is staging its first public gathering in Gujranwala" asks a PPP leader
Image Source: The Express Tribune

On 16 October, Imran left the NA without answering the Opposition on why he called the NA session during the PDM's rally. Around 45 opposition in the NA raised slogans and con­tinued with it till the NA Spea­ker adjourned the proceedings till Monday. Meanwhile, in the parliamentary party meeting, Imran had to face questions from his party and allies about the price hike. He said the PTI was not responsible for the crisis; it was a result of the wrongdoings of previous rulers. ("Imran leaves NA without delivering speech amid protest," Dawn, 17 October 2020)


In Brief
INTERNAL
IHC issues notice to government officials and Pemra chairperson
On 16 October, the IHC issued notices to secretaries of the interior and information ministries, the Pemra chairman and the Islamabad IG on allegations of harassing a journalist. The council said the petitioner faced a smear campaign and had been called a traitor after he filed a story about offshore properties owned by the relatives of Asim Bajwa. A TV channel aired a programme alleging that the petitioner was involved in data leakage from the SECP with a retired Indian Army officer. The Court remarked that no Pakistani citizen can be declared a traitor. ("IHC issues notices to govt, Pemra on journalist's petition, Dawn, 17 October 2020 and "No Pakistani can be declared traitor: IHC," The News International, 17 October 2020)

Unidentified men torch NATO vehicles
On 16 October, unidentified armed men torched four Humvee military trucks of NATO along with two trailers in Bara Tehsil of Khyber. Police said Three men riding motorcycles intercepted the trailers at gunpoint on Frontier Road in Bara, let the drivers escape and torched the vehicles. In June 2014, Militants had bombed and torched Nato supply vehicles and oil tankers and killed over 100 drivers and transporters prior to the start of Zarb-i-Azb military operation. ("Four Nato vehicles, two trailers torched in BaraDawn, 17 October 2020)

PROVINCES
Waziristan attacks raise concerns about intelligence failure 
An editorial in Dawn says the attacks in Razmak and Ormara raise concerns about vigilance in the tribal district, intelligence failure, and the need for appropriate counterterrorism training for personnel in the area. The editorial emphasizes that such incidents in Gwadar will discourage investors and create a tense environment. It raises concerns about the involvement of Baloch Raaji Ajoi Sangar - an alliance which has been banned and asks whether there is foreign involvement. It says the government must address these concerns and for the abysmal performance of the NACTA. It also questions the move to form a committee to consider over 50 per cent strength cut in NACTA. ("Multiple attacks," Dawn, 17 October 2020)

Another editorial in The News International talks about the same incidents and says there are suspicions that the coalition of Baloch nationalist fighters have support from outside, especially India. The editorial says the development of these regions may prevent people from supporting militancy. It says the new scenario emerging in Afghanistan could also influence the temperature and the kind of alliances being formed in the region. ("Fighting death," The News International, 17 October 2020)

ON INDIA
India's duplicitous ride in two boats
An opinion column in The Nation says India's ambitions regarding the Quad are dangerous as Russia and China see this formation as a threat to the greater Eurasian Economic Union and SCO/ ASEAN. By being a part of Quad, India is trying to ride to boats moving in different directions. He says Beijing has reason to be more assertive as it is militarily and economically an undisputed power. The author then cites a Foreign Policy article and says it has exposed "Indian role in the spread of global terrorism" which started as early as Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman's Mukti Bahni. The author says India's role in terrorism is evident in Kashmir, Nepal, Bangladesh etc. ("India's ambition checkmated," The Nation, 17 October 2020) 

 


"I tell you, Imran Niazi, that you are but a puppet and selected.”

 Bilawal Bhutto on Imran Khan during the Gujranwala meeting.

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