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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

18 November 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.186

PDM rejects Center’s move to ban public meetings



PDM President rejects Centre’s move to ban public meetings, media opinion on the recent developments with the TLP, and PPP questions GB CEC’s neutrality

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
PDM President rejects Center’s move to ban public meetings
Criticises the “present accountability system”
Image Source: Dawn
 
On 17 November, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rejected the government’s move to implement Covid-19 related restrictions on public gatherings in Pakistan. PDM announced that its three upcoming meetings would be convened as per their previous plan. Speaking at a media briefing, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman said, “There is talk about banning the public meetings on the pretext of coronavirus. We reject any such decision of the government and the PDM’s public meetings will be held as per schedule”. He also called the GB elections an “action replay” of the July 2018 elections. Maulana Fazl said the opposition rejected the country’s “present accountability system” and criticised the NAB and FIA. (“PDM rejects govt move to ban public meetings,” Dawn, 18 November 2020)

PDM rules out talks with PTI government
Maulana called the incumbent PTI government an ‘illegitimate’ government, and ruled out any talks with the latter. “We are not ready to hold talks with the government in any way. They (the government) are not representatives of the people,” he said. He was responding to a question on whether the opposition parties would hold talks with the government regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent proposal to conduct the upcoming Senate elections through show of hands.

Forms five-member committee for the preparation of a new Charter of Pakistan
According to Dawn, the PDM had constituted a five-member committee comprising Sherry Rehman and Raza Rabbani of the PPP, Khurram Dastagir Khan and Ahsan Iqbal of the PML-N and Kamran Murtaza of the JUI-F. Maulana Fazl said that PDM had approved the basic principles for the preparation of a novel Charter of Pakistan. 

Concern over “delaying tactics” in foreign funding case against PTI
Observing Shabbar Zaidi’s statement that he was stopped from taking any action after he presented the list of corrupt politicians involved in the foreign funding case, the Maulana said, “The confessional statement of Shabbar Zaidi is an FIR against the government”. (“Defying ban: PDM to hold scheduled rallies,” The News International, 18 November 2020)

Immediate Context
On 16 November, following the National Coordination Committee meeting, PM Khan had called upon citizens to observe SOPs and announced the decision to impose restrictions on public meetings and gatherings. Announcing the suspension of PTI’s public meetings, he asked the other political parties of Pakistan to follow suit.
 

It is imperative to stop mollycoddling groups of TLP’s ilk: Editorial 
Ultra-right-wing outfits have demeaned the country’s global image 

Image Source: Dawn
An editorial in the Dawn critical of the latest clashes between the TLP protester and government and the subsequent developments says that many such reactionary outfits have been allowed to thrive on Pakistani soil. Adding that these groups have done nothing but damage the global image of this county. Further, their provocative rhetoric and violent actions have reinforced the enemy’s narrative and weakened the principled positions on regional human rights issues.

The sense of deja-vu is unmistakable
The editorial goes on to draw parallels between the 2017 incident where during the PML-N government’s tenure, that the TLP first made its presence felt when its activists forcibly occupied the same site for over 20 days to demand the ouster of the law minister on entirely baseless grounds. Since then the group has demonstrated its destructive street power on several other occasions, more recently on the announcement of Asiya Bibi’s acquittal by the Supreme Court.

TLP will continue to use its bully pulpit to pressure governments
The TLP will continue to use its bully pulpit to pressure governments into wholly untenable compromises that an economically weak country cannot afford adds the editorial. It concluded by stating that matters have come to a point where it is necessary to stop indulging groups of like the TLP, let alone using them for dubious political objectives which would only lead Pakistan to ruin. (“Yet more space,” Dawn, 18 November 2020)
 

PPP raises questions over GB CEC’s neutrality
People of GB deserve an inclusive policy, says opinion 

Image Source: Dawn

On 17 November, head of PPP’s Central Election Cell questioned the GB chief election commissioner’s neutrality in the recently held Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly elections, arguing that instead of taking action over ‘open and blatant violation of electoral law’ by the federal government the commissioner was asking the opposition parties to provide proof. Adding that if the CEC had taken any action on the complaints of blatant pre-poll rigging and the polling day rigging, the post-poll rigging would not have taken place. Further, numerous opposition party leaders for the past couple of weeks have been asking the GB CEC to take notice of PM’s announcement on granting provisional provincial status to the region just days before the polls and the election campaign being run by his cabinet members in violation of Election Act. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “PPP questions GB CEC’s neutrality,” Dawn, 18 November 2020) (Asim Yasin, “PPP questions role of GB CEC in Gilgit-Baltistan polls,” The News International, 18 November 2020)

It is time to have a more inclusive policy towards the people of Gilgit-Baltistan: Opinion
An editorial in the News International while looking into the larger historical perspective of colonialism and international politics says that the ongoing national debate about the change in the political status of GB must be seen through this. Further, it notes that the people of GB still believe that if Pakistan cannot bring this region under its constitutional limits, it should at least grant a special package to ensure the protection of the political, legal and economic rights of the people. Thus, the proposed framework of the provisional constitutional province should empower local legislative assembly with a proper bureaucratic structure, an independent judiciary, representation in all constitutional bodies and eco-friendly investment under CPEC projects. The opinion concluded by stating that it is time to have a more inclusive policy for the people of GB. (Amir Hussain, “A land of unknowns,” The News International, 18 November 2020)


In Brief
INTERNAL
Pakistan allots USD 100 million for vaccine procurement
Imran Khan approved the allocation of USD 100 million and advance payment for procuring the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Dawn. Vice Chancellor of the Health Services Academy (HSA) and Chairman of the National Vaccine Committee told Dawn that the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) is negotiating with different MNCs to purchase the vaccine as soon as possible. However, he reminded that no company has the approval to sell the vaccine yet neither has the cost been announced. (Ikram Junaidi, “Pakistan sets aside $100m to buy Covid vaccine,” Dawn, 18 November 2020)

ECONOMY
Editorial urges Pakistan to look beyond China for FDI
An editorial in Dawn highlights that despite the FDI being at a 10-month-high at USD 317.4 million, net foreign investment shrunk “by 14.5 per cent to USD 587.5 million in the first four months” of the current fiscal year. The editorial says most of the direct investments were made by China as a part of CPEC. Further, it says Chinese investment too has slowed down after completing some of the early CPEC schemes and points out that chances of non-CPEC investments are minimal at the moment. The editorial urges Pakistan to diversify its FDI sources and attract non-debt-creating foreign investment to increase exports and “replace foreign debt to pay its import bill.” (“FDI challenge,” Dawn, 18 November 2020)

PAKISTAN’S WORLD VIEW 
Increased global role of US expected out of Biden, says opinion
An opinion in The News International highlights the possible course of foreign policy the US will adopt under Biden. The author says one major change will be the increased role of the US in the global arena which Trump has significantly pulled out of. He says the US approach to India and Afghanistan are likely to remain constant; however, Biden might place stricter conditions on the Taliban in the Afghan peace and “will keep a check on Indian human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir.” He points out that owing to Pakistan’s close relations with China, the US might view Pakistan as a “thorn in the eyes.” He also hopes that unlike Trump, Biden will focus on “democracy, human rights and freedom of the press in Pakistan.” (Saleem Safi, “What does Biden’s win mean?” The News International, 18 November 2020)

ON CPEC
CPEC Authority bill passed despite Opposition objection
On 17 November, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning and Development cleared the “The China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (Amendment) Bill 2020 amid objections by the Opposition. The Committee suggested that the bill be passed with a 7:5 majority. However, Members of the committee belonging to the PML-N and PPP opposed the bill and submitted their note of dissent. The Opposition said their previous concerns over the CPEC Authority were unaddressed. Former Planning Minister also criticised the move and found the creation of the CPECA unnecessary and superfluous. (“NA panel clears CPEC authority bill with majority vote,” Dawn, 18 November 2020)

 


"We are not ready to hold talks with the government in any way. They (the government people) are not representatives of the people.”
-PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman
on election reforms

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