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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

24 November 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.190

Pakistan to set up a new intelligence committee chaired by DG-ISI



Pakistan to set up a new intelligence committee chaired by DG-ISI, protests turn violent in GB over election results, and the highest recorded COVID-19 positivity rate

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
Pakistan to set up a new intelligence committee chaired by DG-ISI
Aims at improving capabilities, coordination and the role of respective agencies

On 23 November, PM Imran Khan approved the setting up of the National Intelligence Coordination Committee (NICC). This new body is to be led by the DG-ISI who would function as its chairman. The first meeting of the coordination body is expected to be held as early as next week.

Functions of the NICC
The NICC would serve as a mechanism to coordinate the over two dozen intelligence organisations in the country. National Counter Terrorism Authority would also be part of the new structure. Further, the decision to create such a body comes as a part of the long-awaited reform of the intelligence apparatus, which aims at clarifying the role of respective agencies, improving their coordination, and optimising their capabilities.

Previously…
Over the years there have been attempts at developing intel coordination, however, progress could not be made due to the differences over the leadership of the new body. In 2008, the then PPP government notified the placement of ISI and IB under the “administrative, financial, and operational control” of the Interior Ministry. Similar efforts were taken by the then PLM-N government. however, it was unsuccessful.(Baqir Sajjad Syed, “PM okays creation of liaison body for spy agencies,” Dawn, 24 November 2020)

 

Protests turn violent in GB over election results
Government building and four vehicles torched by protests

Image Source: Dawn
On 23 November, around four vehicles and a building of Gilgit-Baltistan's forest department were torched by unidentified persons after a protest arranged by the PPP turned violent. PPP workers and police clashed while the former was protesting against the unofficial results of Gilgit-Baltistan A-2, Gilgit-2 constituency. (Imtiaz Ali Taj, “GB forest dept building, 4 vehicles torched as PPP's protest against alleged rigging turns violent,” Dawn, 24 November 2020)

PPP and PML-N continue to levelled allegations of rigging in the recent GB elections
PPP's information secretary for GB said that party workers had arranged a peaceful protest against alleged rigging in GBLA-II but the police used force to stop them, further, the secretary accused the CEC of hiding the results of the constituency. In response to this, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting said after the defeat in the GB election, the opposition should have known their political status. (“Riots in GB over election results,” The News International, 24 November 2020)
 

Positivity rate stands at 7.46 per cent, highest this season
PMA says virus more lethal in the second wave

Image Source: Dawn

On 23 November, Pakistan recorded its highest COVID-19 positivity ratio of the current season. According to the Dawn, data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the positivity rate in the country stood at 7.46 per cent. Further, the NCOC stated that 19 per cent of the cases have surfaced in educational institutions, where there has been an 82 per cent increase in cases during the last two weeks. Further, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) warned people against disregarding the seriousness of the virus and urged them to adopt precautionary measures. Additionally, PMA secretary-general said the second wave was more lethal as the infected people were developing severe symptoms with many losing their lives. (Ikram Junaidi, “Pakistan sees highest Covid-19 positivity ratio of this season,” Dawn, 24 November 2020)

In Sindh, the government has imposed more restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. The provincial authorities issued new measures in line with the NCOC meeting which formulated a nationwide policy to control COVID-19 spread in consultation with all relevant stakeholders. (“Sindh imposes fresh Covid restrictions, limits business timings from 6am to 6pm,” The Express Tribune, 24 November 2020)


In Brief
INTERNAL
Editorial suggests an alternative to the public rallies 
An editorial in The Daily Times, referring to the PDM rallies, says such a tactic by the Opposition may not be the best measure to pressure the government because of the ongoing pandemic. The editorial criticises the government for realising the threat of COVID-19 only after public rallies gained momentum. Further, it says the Opposition should use the Parliament and other options to change a government and not resort to “unconstitutional means,” or a no-confidence move. It says the government should secure its relations with its allies if  it wants to defeat the Opposition’s no-confidence move. It also urges the government and the Opposition to sit together, address differences, and resolve problems in the country. (“PDM Peshawar rally,” The Daily Times, 24 November 2020)

EXTERNAL
Opinion emphasises need to follow-up on Imran’s Kabul visit 
An opinion in The Express Tribune, appreciative of Imran Khan’s visit to Kabul, outlines some of the issues that were not included in the talks between the two countries. The author says such interactions in the past too failed to break the ice and launch an “era of mutual cooperation and respect for each other’s positions on important issues.” He says Imran’s assurance to reduce violence in Afghanistan was not substantial as Pakistan has limited influence on the Taliban. Further, the author says the issue of water-sharing in the Kabul River was not addressed despite both countries being water-stressed. Therefore, he suggests that Imran’s visit should be followed by “a deeper and constructive engagement” focussed on “the realm of peace making.” (Rustam Shah Mohmand, “PM’s visit to Kabul,” The Express Tribune, 24 November 2020)

PAKISTAN’S WORLD VIEW
Opinion proposes RCEP-like agreement and trade bloc stretching from New Zealand to Russia
An opinion in The News International highlights the position that Pakistan is in with regard to the RCEP. The author is critical of the fact that Pakistan’s economy has not witnessed progress over the last five years; Pakistan pinned all its hopes on CPEC, missing out on other economic avenues. He says Pakistan, without altering its foreign policy and its military/political goals, is expecting gains. He appreciates countries like Japan and China who engage in a give and take process. According to him, Pakistan is merely “trying to take all resulting in meagre gains.” He proposes that the Central Asian Republics, SAARC, and ASEAN blocs together can devise an agreement similar to RCEP. However, for this, SAARC countries, especially Pakistan and India, need to resolve their differences. He, therefore, emphasises the need to keep “military and political differences aside” in the better interest of economic and trade relations. (Dr Naazir Mahmood, “China, Japan and the RCEP - Part II,” The News International, 24 November 2020)

ON INDIA
Pakistan threatened by hybrid war unleashed by India, says former minister 
Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik, in a letter to Joe Biden, has requested intervention in the Kashmir dispute. In the letter, he requests Biden to ask Narendra Modi “to lift the curfew in Kashmir with immediate effect and support Kashmiris to get their right to self-determination.” Further, he says Pakistan is under the threat of a “hybrid warfare unleashed by India,” because “India continues to support Daesh under the full gaze of the world bodies.” He says that the UN does not hold India accountable and says, “if left unchecked, India under the direction of Modi, is all set to plunge the world into World War III.” He reminds Biden of Pakistan’s friendship with India, its contribution to the war on terror, and its role in the Afghan peace; despite all of the above, “India is still getting preferential treatment.” (Asim Yasin, “Malik writes to Biden, seeks his help on Kashmir,” The News International, 24 November 2020)

Can resolve other issues with India if Kashmir issue is settled, article quotes official
An article in The Nation quotes an unnamed official - “India is a global terrorist and is running global terrorism networks. We have shared irrefutable evidence with the influential countries.” It says India has been “hoodwinking the world and claiming to be the largest democracy in the world” while sponsoring “terrorism as a policy.” The article quotes another unnamed official who says that Pakistan’s contentions with India are similar to its contentions with Israel. He says just like Pakistan’s differences with Israel stem from the Palestine issue, its differences with India lie in the Kashmir dispute. Further, he says other problems with India can be resolved if the Kashmir question is addressed. (“India running terror networks: Pakistan,” The Nation, 24 November 2020)

 


"We Pakistanis do not want monitory gains but recognition of our sacrifices and selfless friendship make this world more peaceful following the principle of interfaith harmony.”
-Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior
Rehman Malik

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Record COVID-19 spike in a single day;