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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

11 January 2021, Monday I Vol 2, No.11

India stalling progress of Mumbai attack case, says FO



The Foreign Office accusation on India, the countrywide power outage over the weekend, and the polio vaccination drive.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

PR Editorial, 11 January 2021
Pakistan in the dark: The power blackout across the country
On Saturday night, the blackout started and spread across the country from Karachi in the south to Islamabad in the north. According to an initial statement from the energy ministry, it all started with a thermal power station in Guddu in Sindh. It then spread across, and most of the cities in Pakistan came under dark. By Sunday evening, the government claimed that it is attempting to restore power, and blamed a technical fault causing a massive frequency, that led to the calamity. According to the federal minister of energy, what happened in Guddu, started a “cascading effect on every power plant in the country, which, in turn, became dysfunctional, and resultantly the whole power generation system collapsed.”

This is not the first time Pakistan is facing the issue linked to the Guddu station. Similar things happened earlier during 2015 and then in 2016. What happened during the weekend then should be seen as a recurring problem, and be addressed accordingly. While technical issues need to be addressed within the powerplant, there are larger issues relating to the transmission lines as well. This is not peculiar to Pakistan alone; entire South Asia has a problem with electricity transmission. Besides the theft, South Asia wastes electricity due to its inefficient transmission. From the cables to transformers, Pakistan and the rest of the region have to invest and find long term solutions.

Back to Pakistan, the country’s energy sector suffers from multiple systemic problems, including power generation, power transmission and power distribution at the technical levels. However, the larger problem is the governance of the energy sector. Governments have politicised the sector and have pursued ad hoc arrangements; its approach towards the IPPs would exemplify the above approach.
 
In Focus
India stalling progress of Mumbai attack case, says FO
Imran accuses Modi government of causing unrest in Pakistan

On 10 January, the Foreign Office accused India of stalling the investigation process of the Mumbai attack case. The FO spokesperson said India was reluctant to send witnesses to the Pakistani court for cross examination. He claimed that “investigations, prosecutions and subsequent convictions, through due process,” are a testimony to the efficiency of the legal system in Pakistan. 

FO makes statement amid US response on Lakhvi’ conviction

The FO made the accusatory statement after the US State Department, while appreciating the conviction of Zakiur Lakhvi for financing terrorism, urged Pakistan to deem him accountable for “involvement in terrorist attacks, including the Mumbai attacks.” 

In response, the FO asked the US to reserve its concerns for India’s alleged  “aiding, abetting, planning, promoting, financing & execution of terrorist activities.” The FO claimed to have provided adequate evidence of the same. 

Pakistan concerned as India gets chairmanship of three UNSC panels

In the above context, the FO also raised concerns against India securing chairmanship of three key UNSC panels, including one on the Taliban sanctions and counterterrorism committees. The FO asked UNSC members to ensure that India does not “abuse its position as a non-permanent member of the UNSC.” 

With a reference to Kashmir, the FO spokesperson alleged that “India’s bellicose rhetoric and belligerent actions” were threatening “peace and security in the region and beyond.” (Iftikhar A Khan, “Pakistan holds India responsible for delay in Mumbai case,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

India is backing the IS to cause unrest, says Imran

On the same day, PM Imran Khan accused India of backing the Islamic State “to cause turmoil in Pakistan.” Highlighting the IS claims on the Hazara incident, Imran opined that India was backing the IS and that the Modi government operated with “a stated aim” to “spread unrest in Pakistan.” 

Imran said his government had been briefed by intelligence agencies that India had an agenda to fuel sectarianism in Pakistan by killing Shias and Sunnis and thereby widening the rift between the two communities. (“India backing IS to spread unrest in Pakistan: PM Imran on Hazara killings,” Dawn, 10 January 2021)

 

Power supply yet to be restored in cities after technical collapse in power plant
Opposition accuses PTI government of lying to “cover up failures” 

Image Source: Dawn

On 10 January, several cities remained cut off from power supply after a countrywide power breakdown took place the previous day. According to officials, a technical snag in the Guddu power plant - led to a drop in transmission frequency to zero; this tripped the three main 500kV transmission lines that in turn tripped other main lines across Pakistan. They estimated that power supply would be restored on Monday (today) as the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has been working on the issue. However, the reason behind the technical fault has not been detected yet. (Khalid Hasnain, “Several cities await power supply as restoration efforts continue,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

Power outage reflects failure of protection system
The NTDC protection system should have isolated the technical failure in the Guddu power plant and prevented the subsequent tripping of other main grids. However, this did not happen due to inadequate maintenance and non-washing of transmission lines. Further, the latest outage is the third incident since 2015 thereby reflecting the failure to upgrade the protection system. (Khaleeq Kiani, “Failure of safeguards pinpointed as cause of outage,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

Committee constituted to investigate technical snag
Meanwhile, the NTDC formed a four-member inquiry committee to investigate the technical cause behind the power outage. Apart from addressing the technical aspect of the issue, the committee has been tasked to hold any officer/official accountable for negligence and to suggest preventive measures against such incidents in the future. The committee is expected to submit its report within seven days. (“Four-member panel to probe power breakdown,” The News International, 11 January 2021)

Government, Opposition engage in blame game
On 10 January, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting blamed the past governments for the failures in the power sector. Similarly, the Minister for Energy said the power transmission system was being improved now because the past governments did not do so. 

On the same day, opposition leaders accused the government of “telling lies to cover up its failure in the power generation sector.” The PML-N Secretary General said the Saturday incident was a proof that the current government was “inept” and “incompetent.” Further, the PML-N Information Secretary said the PTI press conference was a bulletin of lies. (Amjad Mahmood, “Govt telling lies to cover up power sector failures: opposition,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

 

Polio vaccination drive for 2021 begins in Pakistan
285,000 workers to vaccinate 40 million children 

Image Source: Dawn

Pakistan is set to start its first polio campaign under strict precautionary measures and protocols for the year 2021. As part of the campaign, a five-day national polio immunisation drive will start from during which over 40 million children under the age of five will be vaccinated across the country. Further, a supplementary dose of Vitamin A drops will also be administered to the children aged six to 59 months as a means to help build general immunity among susceptible children to protect them from polio and other diseases.(“Pakistan launches first polio vaccination campaign of 2021,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

285,000 workers to vaccinate children across the country
According to Dawn, data issued by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) for Polio stated that around 285,000 polio frontline workers will visit parents and caregivers at their doorsteps while adhering to strict Covid-19 precautionary measures and protocols while vaccinating children. (Ikram Junaidi, “Drive against polio begins as Covid cases cross 500,000 mark,” The News International, 11 January 2021)

Government seeks to ensure timely and repeated vaccination of children
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services stated, “Our aim is to ensure timely and repeated vaccination of children. This is key to reducing immunity gap and protecting children against polio and other diseases. The government is committed to reaching the goal of a polio-free Pakistan which requires full support of the nation, especially from communities and the parents and caregivers of children under the age of five years.”

PR Opines: Pakistan’s polio crisis
Pakistan is one of only two countries where wild polio and vaccine-derived polio strains remain. If the government fails to adopt transformative measures to eradicate poliovirus, the situation could become worse in the country. However, the task is not easy with issues stemming from societal misconceptions, failure of governance and attacks on polio workers itself. This said Pakistan has no choice but to ensure that its campaign this year assists in reaching the end goal of a polio-free country.


In Brief
INTERNAL
NROs devastated economy says, PM Imran Khan
On 10 January, PM Imran Khan said, “Two NROs given by Pervez Musharraf had damaged the country to a great extent and overburdened the country under debts that half of the revenue today goes to debt payment, leaving the government with short of resources to spend on public welfare.” He added, “During the last 10 years, they [opposition leaders] had given NROs to each other and consequently the country’s debt swelled fourfold and there was the same NAB (National Accountability Bureau) which did nothing against them.” Further, he said, “Any NRO to the opposition leaders for their corruption cases would ease out my life but it would be disastrous for the country.” (Syed Irfan Raza, “Musharraf-era NROs devastated economy: PM,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

Did not want to be part of witch-hunt says, the owner of Broadsheet LLC 
On 11 January Dawn reported that Kaveh Moussavi owner of an international asset recovery firm, Broadsheet LLC, spoke about the beginnings of his firm’s relationship with the Musharraf regime as well as his attempts to offer his now liquidated company’s services to subsequent governments in an interview with a UK-based web channel. Moussavi said that he got into an agreement with Musharraf to go after elements across the political spectrum, not just Sharifs, adding, “Initially, the focus of Musharraf was to go after Nawaz Sharif and his government but we insisted we would not be a tool of a political witch-hunt and said previous governments should be looked at too.” (Atika Rehman, “Moussavi says didn’t want to be part of witch-hunt,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

Violent extremists as long as they are free will pose a threat to minorities across the country says editorial 
An editorial in Dawn critical of PM Imran Khan’s delayed visit and statement on the Hazaras says that the grieving community could do little but receive him with good grace, and hope that this time the state follows through. Further, the editorial critical of the plight of minorities in the country says that the government ensure than security forces hunt down violent extremists and bring them to trial, adding that as long as they are free, they will continue to pose a threat to minorities across the country. (“PM’s visit to Quetta,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

ECONOMY
Tax receipts surpassed Rs2,205 billion during the first six months (July-Dec)
On 1o January, in a meeting held to review the tax reform, PM Imran Khan was told that the tax receipts had surpassed Rs2,205 billion during the first six months (July-Dec) of the current financial year. The meeting informed that tax collection was being automated and taxpayers were being given incentives, adding that this automation would enhance transparency and reduce corruption and tax evasion. Further, the PM was briefed that growth in the number of taxpayers had been witnessed because of tax reforms. (“July-Dec tax receipts surpass Rs2,205bn, PM told,” Dawn, 11 January 2021)

 

 

"High rates of economic growth would not do; the state has to get actively involved in addressing the problem by directly aiding the poor.”
- An opinion in The Express Tribune on
'The state’s role in alleviating poverty'

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Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav

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Pakistan This Week

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Pakistan This Week

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The licences are not fake but only dubious

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Return of Lal Masjid Maulana

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Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions

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The problem with Pakistan Railways

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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

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Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods

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Pakistan remembers 28 May Nuclear Tests

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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;