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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

19 January 2021, Tuesday I Vol 2, No.19

Cabinet constitutes committee to probe Broadsheet scandal



The Cabinet forms committee to probe into the Broadsheet scandal, the PDM march to Islamabad today, and Imran Khan's statement on the WhatsApp chats of Arnab Goswami

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
Cabinet constitutes committee to probe Broadsheet scandal
Government has to pay USD 29 million to Broadsheet, says SAPM

On 18 January, amid the mudslinging between the government and the Opposition, the federal cabinet formed a three member committee to probe into the Broadsheet LLC fiasco. Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz will lead the committee. The other two members are: Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari. According to sources in The News International, The committee is expected to submit a review of Pakistan’s agreement with Broadsheet LLC from 2002 to 2018. 

SAPM briefs Senate on liability to Broadsheet LLC
On the same day, citing an agreement signed between Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif in 2000, the SAPM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar told the Senate that the government was liable to pay USD 29 million to the Broadsheet firm. He explained that PPP government had paid USD 1.5 million to a wrong firm in 2008 “and all proceedings of arbitration were held during the last two governments of PPP and Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N).” Further, the Mushrraf regime worked with Broadsheet and International Asset Recovery (IAR), in May 2000 to trace assets of 200 Pakistanis. Then in 2003, the NAB suspended the agreements with Broadsheet and IAR.

The SAPM explained that Broadsheet had fixed USD 100 million as 20 per cent share of the firm for recovering assets of Schon Group, Lakhani, Fouzi Kazmi, retired Gen Zahid Ali Akbar, (Aftab) Sherpao, and Ansari assets. Next, the second part of the liability award is the above mentioned USD 29 million. Of this, USD 1.5 million accounts for tracing Nawaz’s Avenfield properties, and USD 19 million for other Sharif assets. The rest of the USD 29 million was interest due to the delay.  

Opposition lashes out in Senate
In the above context, PPP’s Sherry Rehman raised questions on a number of other names removed from the list. She accused the government of attempting to “break the two biggest political parties of this country: the PPP and PML-N.” Similarly, PML-N Senator Muhammad Abbasi also raised concerns on the figures and called on the committee of the Whole to discuss the same. (Iftikhar A Khan, “Controversy over Broadsheet scandal echoes in Senate,” Dawn, 19 January 2021) (Nasir Iqbal, “UK judge rebukes NAB in Broadsheet ruling,” Dawn, 19 January 2021) (Mumtaz Alvi, “Broadsheet scandal gets graver,” The News International, 19 January 2021) 

 

PDM marches to Islamabad today
Parties call on ECP to deliver decision on fundings case

Image Source: Dawn

On 19 January (today,) the PDM is set to stage protests outside the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad; meanwhile, the election body is expected to hear the foreign funding case against the PTI on 20 January. This is the first rally to be held in the Red Zone. However the PDM has no plan to conduct a sit-in at the protest site. Rallies from Rawalpindi and Islamabad will converge at Serena Hotel Chowk and from here, Maryam Nawaz, Fazlur Rehman Raja Pervez Ashraf, will lead the main rally to the ECP headquarters. Bilawal Bhutto, however, will not attend the rally. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Battle of nerves looms over PDM power show,” Dawn, 19 January 2021)

Fazlur calls on ECP to decide on foreign fundings case
On 18 January, Fazlur said “crores of rupees were collected in the name of party funds and brought to Pakistan through illegal means.” This money, he alleged, was used in election rigging and “creating political anarchy,” and accused Imran Khan of the same. He asked why the ECP was delaying its decision despite having gathered necessary and all possible evidence in the case. (“'Today we demand a decision from ECP',” The News International, 19 January 2021) Further, he pointed out that the decision against Nawaz Sharif came within merely six months while the case against Imran Khan has been pending for six years. Therefore, he called for an unbiased decision from the ECP on what he termed, “the biggest scandal in Pakistan’s political history.” (Kalbe Ali, “Fazl terms foreign funding case biggest scandal of Pakistan,” Dawn, 19 January 2021)

PPP, PML-N seek proof from PTI on funding allegations
On the same day, counsel for the PPP and PML-N appeared before the ECP’s scrutiny committee and claimed that they had not received any foreign funds and submitted all sources of funding, mostly local sources, to the ECP. In this context, the two parties sought proof from the PTI as the ruling party had alleged that they had received foreign funding.

However, the Interior Minister in a press conference said the PTI submitted records of 40,000 transactions and claimed that the opposition parties were “unable to produce records of just 4,000 people from whom they had received foreign funding.” (“PML-N, PPP ask PTI for proof of foreign funding allegations,” Dawn, 19 January 2021)

Meanwhile… 
On the same day, the Interior Minister announced that the government would be giving a free hand to the PDM to conduct its rallies on the condition that they do not violate any laws. He reiterated that the PDM is expected to respect the sanctity of the ECP as it is a constitutional body. (“PDM given ‘free hand’ for today’s protest: minister,” Dawn, 19 January 2021)

 

Imran urges world to stop Modi govt from pushing "India towards war with Pakistan"
Says Goswami’s remarks reveal nexus between Delhi govt and Indian media

Image Source: Dawn

On 18 January, PM Imran Khan urged the world to stop the Modi government from allegedly pushing India towards war with Pakistan. In a series of tweets he said, “Indian sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan, its abuses in IIOJK & a 15-year Indian global disinformation campaign against us all stand exposed. Now India’s own media has revealed the dirty nexus that is pushing our nuclearised region to the brink of a conflict it cannot afford.” (Baqir Sajjad Syed, “World must stop Modi from igniting war: PM,” Dawn, 19 January 2021)

Further, amid the leak of WhatsApp chats between Arnab Goswami and head of an Indian ratings company he said, “Latest revelations from the communication of an Indian journalist, known for his warmongering, reveal the unholy nexus between the Modi govt and Indian media that led to a dangerous military adventurism to win an election in utter disregard for the consequences of destabilising the entire region.” (“
WhatsApp chat reveals Modi-media ‘dirty nexus’,” The News International, 19 January 2021)


In Brief
INTERNAL
Govt approves Sinopharm vaccine 
On 18 January, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) approved another Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned firm. Further, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), has asked the government produced details of the vaccines which are under consideration for import as well as their efficacy rates. Previously, on 16 January, Drap had approved AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in the country. (Ikram Junaidi, “Pakistan approves another Covid-19 vaccine,” Dawn, 19 January 2021)

Anti-terrorism court jails two JuD leaders jailed for over 14 years each
On 18 January, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore handed down a fourteen-and-a-half-year jail to Jamaat-ud-Dawa leaders Zafar Iqbal and Yahya Mujahid in two cases of terror financing. Further, the court also sentenced Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki to six-month jail. Previously, the ATC Lahore had sentenced Zafar Iqbal to 26-year imprisonment in three cases. Thus far a total of 41 cases have been registered by the Counter Terrorism Department against the JuD leaders, out of which 28 have been decided while the rest are pending in ATC courts.(“Terror financing: Two JuD leaders jailed for over 14 years each,” The News International, 19 January 2021)

ECONOMY
30 per cent drop in FDI in the first half of FY21
On 18 January, the State Bank of Pakistan reported that Foreign direct investment fell by 30 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal year. The SBP data showed that Pakistan received $952 million foreign investment during July-December FY21 compared to $1.357 billion in the same period of last fiscal year. Further, the data shows that the outflow during July-December was $244m compared to a net inflow of $18.8m the same period last year. Also owing to this drop was the shrinking of inflows from China in July-December. (Shahid Iqbal, “Foreign investment drops by 30pc in first half of FY21,” Dawn, 19 January 2021)

PAKISTAN’S WORLD VIEW
If Trump is acquitted, it would set a dangerous precedent for US, says opinion 
An opinion in The Express Tribune highlights that convicting Trump may be easier this time since the charges against him include inciting violence against the US government, which is an attack on democracy. The author says conviction could happen since it would set a precedent - a loser can overturn results by violence - if Trump is acquitted. Further, the Republicans could see this as a chance to get rid of Trump thereby “eliminating the spectre of his assault on democracy looming over them in the future.” Next, he says senior Republicans could help convicting him if they do not want him contesting the 2024 elections. However, he warns that since Trump has a loyal cult of followers, Republicans may also want to hold on to him to amass followers thereby bringing down the chances of conviction. (Hassan Niazi, “Trump’s last stand,” The Express Tribune, 18 January 2021)

 

"To invest in policing is to invest in peace."
- An opinion in Dawn on Internal security
and the fight against terrorism.

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Highest COVID Spike

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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

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The missing girls of Pakistan

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

Locusts threaten Pakistan's food security

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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

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Smart Lockdown, SOPs vs Social Realities

9 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No 9

Record COVID-19 spike in a single day;