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Daily Briefs


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16 November 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.184

GB Polls: PTI becomes the single largest party



PTI's emergence as the single largest party in GB elections, Pakistan's India Dossier, and the sit-in held at Faizabad Interchange over blasphemous caricatures.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

PR Editorial, 16 November 2020
The India Dossier: Two audiences, three purposes
Finally, the Establishment in Pakistan has decided to let the world know about the evidence that it has collected on India fomenting trouble in Pakistan – from Peshawar to Karachi. In a briefing, the DG-ISPR along with the foreign minister of Pakistan, made a case, with what they call as an "irrefutable evidence" against India sponsoring terrorism within Pakistan.

According to the foreign minister, "After 9/11, the world saw that Pakistan has become a front-line state. While Pakistan was making sacrifices in 'blood and treasure', India was busy laying terrorist networks using its own soil and the spaces in [Pakistan's] immediate neighbourhood and beyond. Today, we have undeniable evidence and we want to show it in the form of this dossier to the nation and the world." He also said: "Today, the Indian intelligence agencies are patronising banned outfits that are against Pakistan. Organisations like Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA). These organisations were defeated by Pakistan, they were flushed out of the country, [now India] is trying to breathe life into them again. They are being supplied ammunition and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and are being provoked to target ulema, notables, and police officials."

The Director-General of the ISPR, in his briefing, stated: "The investigations of the attack on the University of Agriculture in Peshawar in Oct 2017 led to the masterminds of the Army Public School (APS) attack. RAW had hired three facilitators for planning the attack on the university, including Malik Faridoon who was also involved in the planning of APS attack. Malik Faridoon soon after the APS attack, went to Indian consulate in Jalalabad to celebrate."

Clearly, the Establishment in Pakistan is making a case against India. Who is the audience, and what is the purpose of this media offensive against India?

Ever since the Establishment getting hold of Kulbhushan Jadhav, it has been trying to build a narrative highlighting India as a State, sponsoring terrorism. The audience is both – international and internal. 

The Establishment wants to place New Delhi in the bad light, and also project Pakistan as a victim of terrorism. This is a part of their long term strategy to create a "new narrative" to change the global opinion, especially after the killing of Osama bin Laden in the heart of Pakistan. 

Second, the Establishment is also trying to create a narrative, providing "evidence" to an internal audience to prove, that it has won the war against terrorism within Pakistan, however, it is India that is fomenting violence. So the argument is: it is not the failure of the security forces, but the role played by the Indian intelligence, which sustains violence within.

Third, the Establishment is also attempting to bring Beijing inside the above narrative, by stating that India is targeting the CPEC infrastructure and waging a proxy war inside Pakistan against China.
 
In Focus
GB Polls: PTI becomes the single largest party
PTI wins nine, independent six, and the PPP four. Opposition cries foul
 (Image Source: Dawn)
According to Pakistani national media, in the recent Gilgit-Baltistan elections held on 15 November, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf emerged as the single largest party. As per their sources, the PTI secured nine seats followed by independent candidates who won six seats. The PPP won four seats, while PML-N, MWM, JUI-F and Sajid Ali Naqvi’s Islami Tehreek Pakistan got one seat each. PML-N saw victory in two out of the 23 constituencies. The PPP and PML-N have alleged rigging and complained about irregularities. (“G-B polls: PTI leads with 9 seats; independents bag 7 and PPP 4,” The Express Tribune, 16 November 2020)

A peaceful vote
For GB’s third legislative assembly, 330 candidates, including four women, were contending for the 24 general seats. The polling went smoothly without intervals and interruptions in most constituencies. Citizens cast their votes while observing the pandemic SOPs such as social distancing and wearing facemasks. In the Gilgit city, women and elderly equally showed enthusiasm by casting their votes. Over 15,000 security personnel from GB, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Balochistan were deployed at polling stations. However, heavy snowfall did lull the voting turnout. (“PTI emerges single largest party in GB polls,” The News International, 16 November 2020)

Sherry Rahman questions the transparency of the GB polls
Speaking to media, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Sherry Rehman said, “There are more than 600 members of the Free and Fair Election Network monitoring the election but some have been removed from the polling stations… Members of FAFEN must be given full access and all observers should be allowed inside during the counting of votes as their absence will only create more questions and cause controversy. It is also important that the Election Commission takes strict action”. “How are some form 45s filled before polling closes! Let observers into the polling stations and GB Election Commission, act NOW! This is open, flagrant rigging,” she later tweeted.

Dawn calls GB polls a test for political parties
Dawn calls the G-B polls a test case for determining the popularity of Pakistan’s three major political parties — the PTI, PPP and PML-N. throughout the election, PPP highlighted irregularities and wrongdoings on the part of the security personnel and election staff via social media.(“Strong showing by PTI as GB votes in keen contest,” Dawn, 16 November 2020)
 

Pakistan's India Dossier
India’s “rogue activities” aimed at destabilising peace in Pakistan, says an editorial 

Image Source: Dawn

An editorial in The Express Tribune critical of India’s alleged “rogue activities” says that there are other indisputable proofs of activities by India aimed at destabilising peace in Pakistan. Further, the editorial points out to the “evidence” contained in a dossier in the form of copies of correspondence, bank transactions and communication intercepts that was presented by FM Qureshi and military spokesperson Maj Gen Iftikhar cites the alleged proof of various terrorist incidents as well as terrorist links that India has. Further, “The dossier made public by Pakistan exposes the ugly face of India that has been aiding and abetting terrorism and playing the victim card too, to hoodwink the world community.”

“The world can no longer afford to ignore India’s rogue behaviour”
The editorial states, “India has been raising a hue and cry, trying to get Pakistan labeled as a terrorist state. In a clear case of the kettle calling the pot black, New Delhi moved heaven and earth to get Pakistan blacklisted by FATF, but in vain.” Further, while emphasising on the alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir, it states that India “to divert the world attention from such excesses against the civilian population, it often tries to change the news cycle by heating up the LoC.”
In this regard, the editorial says that Pakistan deserves the right to defend itself and has rightly decided to share the undeniable evidence of India’s terrorist activities with the various international group as well as influential world capitals. The editorial concludes by stating that the world can no longer afford to ignore India’s “rogue behaviour.” (“Undeniable evidence,” The Express Tribune, 16 November 2020)

 

Sit-in held at Faizabad Interchange over blasphemous caricatures
TLP activists and police clash

Image Source: Dawn

On 15 November, tensions rose in Liaquat Bagh as police and stick-wielding activists of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) clashed after the riot police resorted to teargas shelling against the stone-pelting protesters. The protesters had gathered after TLP chief called on a sit-in to denounce the publication of blasphemous caricatures in Charlie Hebdo magazine and remarks about Islam and terrorism by French President Emmanuel Macron. During the clashes, dozens of police personnel, and several TLP activists were injured. Further, more than 170 activists were rounded up on 13 and 14 November and over 130 yesterday.

Further, while addressing the protesters, the son of the TLP chief said they would not be deterred by the arrests and shelling and the rally would continue as planned and demanded that the French ambassador be immediately expelled and all diplomatic, trade and economic ties with the country severed. (Aamir Yasin, Mohammad Asghar, “Rawalpindi tense as TLP activists, police clash,” Dawn, 16 November 2020)


In Brief
INTERNAL
Adopt short-term and long-term strategies to address COVID-19, says opinion article
An opinion article in The Express Tribune warns that Pakistan would be in a dire situation if the government fails to address the resurging COVID-19 cases. The author says that the rise in the number of cases was inevitable as the government introduced relaxations in the SOPs since July. He says that Pakistan could slide further down from the being the 18th most-affected country because of the population density. However, he says the government is in a better position to manage the situation now because it had done so during the first wave. He urges for a short-term strategy - reimposing smart lockdowns. He says the long-term strategy should focus on ensuring  “availability of a safe and reliable vaccine” to address the pandemic. (Kamal Siddiqi, “Shutdown time,” The Express Tribune, 15 November 2020)

PAKISTAN’S WORLD VIEW
Opinion article urges Pakistan to increase engagement with Central Asia
An opinion article in The News International appreciates the revival of regionalism in the Central Asian Republics and highlights the role Pakistan can assume in the region. The author says the CARs can “influence, neutralize and exert pressure” on different groups in Northern Afghanistan to prevent them from derailing the peace process. He says with Pakistan's influence in southern Afghanistan, both CARs and Pakistan could contribute to attaining “sustainable peace in Afghanistan.” Further, major projects in CPEC are economically viable through Afghanistan. Therefore, the author says, it would be fruitful for Pakistan to invest in Central Asia because until the Kashmir question is addressed, “South Asia offers almost nothing to Pakistan.” (Prof Shabir Ahmad Khan, “CAR regionalism and Pakistan,” The News International, 16 November 2020)

Elections exposed the American democracy's faultlines, says opinion article 
An opinion article in The Express Tribune examines whether the US has become a failing democracy. The author cites Paul Krugman’s post-election column and quotes - “If we were looking at a foreign country with America’s level of political dysfunction, we would probably consider it on the edge of becoming a failed state — that is a state whose government is no longer able to exert effective control.” The author attributes the current situation to the “not-fully representative structure” of the Senate. He says the same weight assigned to small and big states has resulted in the right-ward tilt of the Senate. He highlights that though the structure was designed to address the urban-rural divide under the British rule, it still exists in American politics. He says this divide was visible when the Republicans tried to nullify the 2020 election results leaning towards Biden. He concludes by saying that greater efforts are a need of the hour to save American democracy. (Shahid Javed Burki, “Is America a failing democracy?” The Express Tribune, 15 November 2020)

ON BLUE ECONOMY
Increase infrastructure, address Gwadar's problem to achieve blue economy, says opinion article
An opinion article in The News International criticises the negligent approach of Pakistan towards reaching its blue economy goals. The author proposes that revenue from the Port Qasim Authority and Karachi Port Trust can be increased if they are connected to the CARs. However, Pakistan has to invest in necessary rail infrastructure and custom arrangements to achieve this. Further, he outlines the need to improve the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation’s capacity. He is critical of the under-utilisation of Pakistan’s 1000 kilometre coastline, most of which lies in Balochistan and emphasises on investing in Gwadar’s port and the Free Trade Zone (FTZ). He highlights the various problems in Gwadar - inadequate supply of electricity, lack of breakwater facilities and dredging - and says unless these problems are addressed, Pakistan’s blue economy will remain a dream. (Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, “The blue economy,” The News International, 16 November 2020)

 


"The people of GB’s enthusiasm is a testament to their commitment to democracy. The election commission must not fail them and ensure every vote is cast & counted. #TeerPayThappa.”
-PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on GB polls (Twitter) 

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20 January 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No.20

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28 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.170

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18 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.136

Pakistan’s Persisting Polio Problem:

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Pakistan and the SCO

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Accountability Court declares Nawaz Sharif as an absconder

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Kashmir in the UN and Pakistan

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Court directs Nawaz Sharif to appear before the court

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27 August 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.117

An article speculates the Opposition’s options and strategies

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"General Bajwa stabilized Pak-Saudi ties"

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Pakistan, China and J&K

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Pakistan and China pledge to safeguard common interests

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"Pakistan can never recognise Israel," says Imran Khan

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PTI's two-year report card

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Pakistan's Palestine Dilemma

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Pakistan at 73: Celebrating the Independence Day

13 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.105

COAS Gen Bajwa to visit Saudi Arabia soon

12 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.104

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The FATF divides within Pakistan

09 August 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.101

Pakistan This Week

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07 August 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.99

Govt decides to lift restrictions as COVID cases decline

06 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.98

Pakistan's continuing Kashmir frenzy

05 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.97

Pakistan's new Map of J&K

04 August 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.96

Kashmir obsession in Pakistan

31 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.94

Two FATF bills passed in the National Assembly

30 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.93

Religiosity in Pakistan: From Creeping to now Galloping

29 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.92

Opposition parties attempt to come together

28 July 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.91

Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav

26 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.89

Pakistan This Week

23 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.86

On the abduction of a Journalist in Islamabad

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Pakistan This Week

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The licences are not fake but only dubious

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15 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.78

On Af-Pak Transit Trade

12 July 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No. 75

Pakistan This Week

11 July 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.74

FATF action plan to be completed at the earliest: Shaikh

08 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.71

Return of Lal Masjid Maulana

07 July 2020, Tuesday , Vol 1, No.70

Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions

06 July 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.69

The problem with Pakistan Railways

02 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.65

The Curious case of "Minus One" Formula in Pakistan

30 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.63

BLA claims the attack on Stock Exchange in Karachi

28 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.61

Pakistan This Week

27 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.60

PTM accepts the dialogue offer, but wants CBMs

24 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.57

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23 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.56

Imran Khan says he was against the idea of lockdown

21 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.54

Pakistan This Week

20 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.53

Budgets presented in KP, and in Gilgit-Baltistan

19 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.52

PTI tries to get the BNP back into coalition,

18 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.51

Baloch partner of the PTI government leaves the coalition

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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;