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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

04 November 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.175

FO rejects Indian Defence Minister’s remarks on GB



FO rejects Indian Defence Minister’s remarks on GB, an editorial on forced conversions, and the Chinese Ambassador's speech on China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Editorial
Pakistan’s hypocrisy and duplicity on Gilgit-Baltistan
On Tuesday, the foreign office again parroted that India does not have any locus standi on Gilgit Baltistan, while responding to a statement from the Indian defence minister.

The foreign office statement, as quoted by the Nation, refers to the following: “Pakistan’s principled position on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute remains firmly anchored in the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions”; “administrative, political and economic reforms are a long-standing demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan,” and “the envisaged provisional reforms reflect the aspirations of the indigenous populace of Gilgit-Baltistan.” 

While Pakistan refutes India has no claim over GB – legally or historically, what claims has Islamabad advocated so far? If Pakistan believes in the principled position on J&K and UNSC resolution, what do the latter ask Pakistan to do in GB? (and also in what Pakistan refers as “AJK”)

Is GB a part of Pakistan – legally and constitutionally? Until now, it has not been. Then under what provisions can Islamabad make “provisional reforms” to GB? If the region is independent, then it should have been a part of the “Azad” J&K. Why did Islamabad treat GB as a colony until now? Under what provisions, did Pakistan decide to build Diamer-Bhasha dam, and the CPEC projects in the GB?

While Pakistan has been telling India has no locus-standi in GB, it has never answered for its own.
 
In Focus
FO rejects Indian Defence Minister’s remarks on GB:
Says India has no locus standi on Gilgit-Baltistan
 (Image Source: Dawn)

Previously, Rajnath Singh, reiterated India’s stand that GB along with Kashmir was an “integral part of India”. He also criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement of granting provincial status to GB.

Development will not alter Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir dispute, says FO
“Administrative, political and economic reforms are a long-standing demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The envisaged provisional reforms reflect aspirations of the indigenous populace of Gilgit-Baltistan,” the FO said. It stressed that development did not change Islamabad’s position on the Kashmir issue. The office emphasized that “its principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remained firmly anchored in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions”.

Quotable
“Gratuitous repetition of false claims by the RSS-BJP leaders, one after the other, for political point-scoring can neither change facts nor can it draw attention away from the reprehensible human rights violations being perpetrated against the Kashmiri people by Indian occupation forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” the FO said.(“FO rejects Indian minister’s comments on GB status,” Dawn, 4 November 2020)

 

 
On forced conversion and marriages
True free will in matters of faith scarcely exists say Dawn in its editorial
Image Source: Voice of America
 

An editorial in the Dawn critical of the many incidents in which families of girls from minority communities being forcibly converted before being married to Muslim men states that despite the law on underage marriage, the courts have been inclined to look the other way if the girl claims her conversion was according to her will, and allowed her to go with her purported spouse.
The editorial states that when religious conversion is involved. Presently, there is no law providing for a minimum age of conversion. In 2016, a bill was introduced in the Sindh Assembly specifying 18 years as the minimum age for such a profound, life-changing decision, however, when the religious lobby created an uproar, the PPP government yielded and the law was never enacted. Thus, the issue was never settled.  The editorial concludes by stating that the inequality of social and political power between two parties is an important factor, as is the pressure exerted in an atmosphere of growing religiosity, where true free will in matters of faith scarcely exists. (“Forced conversion,” Dawn, 4 November 2020)

A judicial magistrate remands the accused in police custody for three days
On 3 November, a judicial magistrate remanded the accused in police custody for three days for allegedly abducting 13-year-old Christian girl, Arzoo, forcibly converting her to Islam and then marrying her. The investigation officer, presented Syed Azhar Ali before the JM-XXIII of the South district, following the suspect’s arrest at the hands of the Anti-Violent Crime Cell. Further, the IO pleaded with the judge to grant him the physical remand of the suspect to conduct his DNA test and arrest his accomplices who have been absconding since obtaining bail from the same court. (Zubair Ashraf, “Man who ‘married 13-year-old Arzoo after her forcible conversion’ remanded in police custody,” The News International, 4 November 2020)

The case of forced conversion and marriage beyond Azroo
Women especially belonging to religious minority groups have faced the gravest brunt of discrimination. They become victims of rape, abduction, forced marriage and forced conversion. Further, the underage girls who are ‘converting’ to Islam speaks volumes of the vulnerability of the converts, and the motivation of those behind the conversion. In most cases the victim is abducted and is then subjugated to sustained emotional and physical abuse often involving threats of violence towards their loved ones. (Sulema Jahangir, “Forced conversions,” Dawn, 12 April 2020)

In most cases, the police often turn a blind eye to reports of abduction and forced conversions thereby creating impunity for perpetrators. Further, despite recent judicial activism, the issue is unlikely to get addressed at the ground level, especially in Sindh, due to access to justice by the socially and economically backward minority communities. (“Forced Conversions and Marriages in Pakistan: The case beyond Reena and Raveena,” Pakistan Reader, 16 June 2020)

 

New Chinese Ambassador wants to build "China-Pakistan community of shared future in new era"
On 3 November, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, said “China always views China-Pakistan relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, and gives priority to Pakistan in its neighboring diplomacy.” He said both countries should promote construction of CPEC and focus on “industrial development, agriculture, science and technology, information, and livelihood-related sectors.” He said this would benefit both countries. He also called for cooperation to address the pandemic. 
Nong Rong mentioned that the Central Committee of the CPC decided that China should follow a “dual circulation” development pattern in which the domestic economic cycle will lead the country but the international economic cycle will supplement it.” For this China will open up with the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. He said that Xi Jinping believes “China-Pakistan relations should become a model of neighbourhood friendship, a pillar of regional peace and stability, and a benchmark for the BRI cooperation.” (“Building a China-Pakistan community of shared future in new era,” The News International, 4 November 2020)



In Brief
INTERNAL
NCC has ruled out the option of imposing a complete lockdown in the country
On 3 November, the National Coordination Committee (NCC) has ruled out the option of imposing a complete lockdown in the country and recommended all the measures announced by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on 28 October which included strict implementation of the SOPs at public places and reduction in timings for markets and commercial activities to continue. Further, PM Imran Khan directed all stakeholders to maintain a balance between disease control measures and livelihood of people. He specifically called for increasing hospital care to cater for any rise in Covid-19 cases, particularly critical care equipment. (Amir Wasim, “NCC rules out complete lockdown,” Dawn, 4 November 2020)

Mahsud tribes stage sit-in in S. Waziristan
On 3 November, the Mahsud tribes of South Waziristan tribal district boycotted the survey for the damages caused by militancy and subsequent military operations. They said they will not cooperate with the survey officials “unless and until the government announced a reasonable compensation for the losses.” Later, they staged a sit-in against the government and announced that they will register their concerns in the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Tank. They said Rs 0.4 million compensation was insufficient. (“Mahsud tribes boycott survey, send team back in South Waziristan,” The News International, 4 November 2020)

ON CPEC
NA extends modified CPEC ordinance 
The National Assembly has extended a modified CPEC Ordinance for four months after its expiration since the Parliament failed to pass it within 120 days. Now, the ordinance indemnifies the CPEC Authority and its officers from any lawsuit or prosecution. A similar indemnity clause existed in the original ordinance in 2019. However, the present ordinance has been expanded with some new clauses. A new provision in the ordinance says any licence or directive issued under the CPEC ordinance will continue to be in force until the Authority cancels it. (Tariq Butt, “CPEC Ordinance indemnifies CPEC authority,” The News International, 4 November 2020)

ECONOMY
Trade deficit narrows to $1.58 billion
On 3 November, data from the Commerce Ministry showed that the trade deficit had narrowed 23 per cent year-on-year to $1.58 billion in October as textile value-added exports increased and imports fell sharply. The data highlighted that the monthly trade deficit had improved by $463 million compared to October 2019. Monthly trade deficit had contracted 4.5 per cent to $7.42 billion from $7.77 billion in the first four months of the current financial year. (“Trade deficit narrows 23pc in October,” The News International, 4 November 2020)

PAKISTAN’S WORLD VIEW
Pakistan expresses concern over the proliferation of Islamophobia in Europe
On 3 Novermber, the FO in a statement said, “The foreign minister apprised his European counterpart about the concerns of Muslims around the world, including Pakistan regarding the growing trend of Islamophobia in some European countries.” This issue was raised by FM Qureshi at the Fifth Round of Pakistan-European Union Strategic Dialogue, which was held virtually. Previously, the FM raised this issue with his other European counterparts in his conversations with them over the past few days and called for promoting inter-faith harmony for defusing the potentially dangerous situation. (“Pakistan voices concern over proliferation of Islamophobia in Europe,” Dawn, 4 November 2020)

An opinion say that the USA is back to develop alliances on the basis of self-assumed threats to world peace and freedom
An opinion in the Daily Times states that the USA is back to business to develop alliances on the basis of self-assumed threats to world peace and freedom. AS China becomes the new obsession for USA and ruling elite of USA sparing no moment to malign China on one pretext or another, the opinion says that they are doing whatever it takes for their allies to oppose and undermine China. In this context, India is a match made in heaven for USA in South Asian region. There are multiple reasons for this but the Indian obsession to establish its dominance in the region coupled with anti-Pakistan sentiments make this deal most favourable for them, citing the joint statement of 2+2 meeting as a perfect example of such obsession of both states. The opinion concluded by stating that although the USA has tried hard to undermine China and India was hell bent to malign Pakistan no matter what, it seems that the meeting was 2 (USA and India) against 2 (China and Pakistan), not 2+2. (Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, “2+2: 2 (USA &India) Against 2 (China & Pakistan),” The Daily Times, 4 November 2020)

Improved relations with US necessary for Pakistan, says editorial
An editorial in The Nation says the global community is keen to see the US election results as it has a global impact. The editorial says the prospects of winning seem tumultuous for Trump as the pandemic has undone the economic progress under his administration. The editorial says the election is not the biggest worry for the world, what follows the results may be more controversial. It says irrespective of which party wins, US policy towards Pakistan has remained the same but Trump has been unpopular. It urges Pakistan to improve relations with the US, irrespective of who wins, to develop Afghan peace process and CPEC. (“A Decisive Day,” The Nation, 4 November 2020)

Democrats’ victory may not change Afghan policy, says opinion piece
An opinion piece in Dawn says no matter who wins the US elections, Trumpism will not cease to exist. However, the results will impact the whole world. The author says a Democrats’ victory would change the US foreign policy; it may mark a return to multilateralism. However, he says it is unlikely that the US policy towards Afghanistan will change as there is unanimity between Trump and Biden on the withdrawal of the American forces from Afghanistan. He highlights that “a hasty withdrawal of the American forces without a political settlement could lead to a new and perhaps bloodier civil war in the divided country.” However, the author hopes that Biden will show maturity in dealing with the Afghan crisis more than Trump. (Zahid Hussain, “No change in Afghan policy,” Dawn, 4 November 2020)
 

 


"China always views China-Pakistan relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, and gives priority to Pakistan in its neighboring diplomacy.”
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong

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Pakistan This Week

13 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.46, Special Brief

Pakistan Budget 2020-21: The First Cut

12 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.44, Special Brief

Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2019-20

07 June 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.38

Pakistan This Week

05 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.36

Highest COVID Spike

04 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.35

Imran receives a briefing at the ISI HQ

03 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.34

Covid cases spike and Lahore becomes the epicentre

01 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.32

Drivers of Karachi Violence

30 May 2020, Saturday, No 1, No.30

Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods

29 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.29

Pakistan remembers 28 May Nuclear Tests

24 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.24

Pakistan This Week

22 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.22

The missing girls of Pakistan

21 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.21

Locusts threaten Pakistan's food security

17 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No 17

Pakistan This Week

15 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.15

Disregard for SOPs peaks Covid-19 cases

14 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No 14

Violence in Afghanistan and the Media in Pakistan

12 May 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No 12

Smart Lockdown, SOPs vs Social Realities

9 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No 9

Record COVID-19 spike in a single day;