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Daily Briefs


Photo : The News International

20 February 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No.51

PML-N starts celebrations as unofficial results show party’s lead



The preliminary results of the by-polls, Qureshi's statement on Afghanistan, and an article on Pakistan's relations with the US, China and Russia.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

PR Editorial, 19 February 2021
Return of the Pakistan Super League (PSL)
Today, when the Karachi Kings, the defending champion of Pakistan Super League (PSL) takes on the Quetta Gladiators, the 2019 champions in Karachi, it should start a new phase not only for the PSL, but also for cricket in Pakistan.
 
The sixth edition of the PSL not only means the return of cricket to Pakistan, but also the return of international cricketers to play in the local stadiums. The last few editions had to be played in the Gulf, due to the security situation inside Pakistan. Though the PSL returned to Pakistan for the final league matches, the initial ones were played in the Gulf. Though the matches would be played primarily in Karachi and Lahore, it is still a welcome development. Second, the number of international cricketers in the latest edition, when compared to the earlier ones. It is no more the old and discarded ones playing the PSL; there are some big names from the West Indies to New Zealand playing in the PSL.
 
Now Pakistan has succeeded in getting cricket back to the country and has also attracted international players, it has to keep the game clean. Besides the security question, the issue of corruption has been another issue that had plagued Pakistani cricket. The PSL has to ensure that the games remain transparent.
 
Let the games begin.

 

In Focus
PML-N starts celebrations as unofficial results show party’s lead
Election violence kills two in Sialko
 

On 19 February, unofficial results showed PML-N leading with three wins in the by-polls held for four constituencies. By-elections were held for two National Assembly seats in Daska and Kurram tribal district, and two provincial constituencies in Gujranwala and Nowshera. 

The PML-N’s win in Nowshera is a surprise as PTI has been in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since 2013. Further, the win contradicted the confidence of former KP Chief Minister and the current Defence Minister as both placed their confidence in PTI and said the PTI would comfortably win the seat. 

Meanwhile, the PML-N  was able to retain its seats in Daska and Gujranwala seats, which the party had won in 2018 as well. (“PDM candidate wins Nowshera constituency in by-poll upset,” Dawn, 20 February 2021)

PML-N starts celebrations
Though the Election Commission of Pakistan is yet to announce the results, Maryam Nawaz shared the results. She called them the "complete result" which the party won "despite massive, blatant rigging.” She tweeted several videos as proof of rigging and called on PML-N supporters to guard their vote. She also accused the PTI of delaying the voting procedure by tweeting a video of PML-N supporters breaking open into a polling station as they were made to wait for hours. 

Two killed in clashes between political workers
On the same day, two people were killed and eight injured in clashes between PTI and PML-N workers at Gondka polling station in Daska. One of the deceased was a PML-N supporter, while the other supported the PTI. Following the incident, police and Rangers were deployed in the area and polling was suspended in 15 stations of the constituency.

The PML-N and the PTI members have accused each other of inciting the violence. Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister has asked the Punjab IGP to send a report on the incident. (“Unofficial by-poll results: PML-N leads on three seats, PTI on one,” The News International, 20 February 2021) (“Two killed as violent clashes mar Sialkot by-poll,” The Express Tribune, 20 February 2021)

 

Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan, says FM Qureshi
“Pakistan is committed to efforts for peace in Afghanistan as it is important for peace in Pakistan,” says COAS

Image Source: ISPR

On 19 February, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that Pakistan had no favourites in Afghanistan. He urged all sides to work together constructively for peace, stability and prosperity, adding this, in turn, would help in creating opportunities for trade, economic cooperation and regional connectivity. Further, he stressed on the opportunity for peace must be seized by the Afghan leaders to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. (“Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan: Qureshi,” The News International, 20 February 2021)

COAS meet with Russian envoy and US Centcom Commander to discuss Afghan negotiations
On 19 February, COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa met with US Centcom Commander Gen Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. during which he reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the Afghan peace process. During the meeting, he said, “Pakistan is committed to efforts for peace in Afghanistan as it is important for peace in Pakistan.” Further, the two discussed matters of mutual interest and regional security situation with particular reference to the ongoing Afghanistan reconciliation process. (“Pakistan committed to Afghan peace process, says Bajwa,” Dawn, 20 February 2020)

On the same day, the COAS met with Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Ambassador Zamir Kabulov. During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, regional security, particularly developments in the Afghan peace process were discussed. Further, the envoy said, “Pak-Russia relations will continue to prosper manifolds.” (“COAS, Russian envoy discuss Afghan peace process,” The Express Tribune, 20 February 2020)

Peace in Afghanistan means peace for Pakistan, says Wali Massoud
On 19 February, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Chairman of the Massoud Foundation said that he had come to Pakistan with a message of love saying, “I have come with a message of friendship and peace. Peace in Afghanistan means peace for Pakistan.” Further, he emphasised on the special bond Pakistan and Afghanistan share. (“Peaceful Afghanistan to ensure stable Pakistan: Wali Massoud,” The Nation, 20 February 2020)

Time those that wield power in that country took bold decisions and put an end to the war, says editorial
An editorial in Dawn critical of the situation in Afghanistan with the situation on the ground being far from ideal, should the parallel peace processes between the Afghan Taliban and the US/Nato alliance and between the Taliban and the government in Kabul collapse the situation will only degenerate further. The editorial says several generations in Afghanistan have seen nothing but war; it is time those that exercise power make bold decisions and put an end to the long-drawn war for the Afghan people. (“Afghanistan peace?,” Dawn, 20 February 2020)

 

Pakistan’s strategic position keeps global powers interested 
Pakistan’s foreign policy was aimed at friendly relations with the world

Image Source: Dawn

An article in The Nation says that the close relation Pakistan shares with the top three world powers– the United States, China and Russia – is a diplomatic miracle owing to its important strategic position. As stated by FM Qureshi, “No country has a problem if we are friendly to all of them. It is our diplomatic success that they all have confidence in us. Pakistan gives importance to its ties with China, Russia and the US.”

Quotable: Pakistan and the three big powers
FM Qureshi has stated that Pakistan’s relations with China China is historic and there had never been a break saying, “China is our Iron Brother. Our ties are beyond cooperation. We are brothers and have been standing with each other at all levels.”
With the US, Pakistan always had close ties stating, “We are in contact with the new US administration and are going through smoothly.”
With Russia, a new partnership was building and the two countries had identical views on several international issues, adding, “the cooperation with Russia is increasing day by day. The two countries have never been this close.” (Shafqat Ali, “Strategic importance keeps Pakistan close to top 3 world powers,” The Nation, 20 February 2020)


In Brief
INTERNAL
Five soldiers killed in another South Waziristan attack
On 19 February, five soldiers were killed while another was injured when terrorists attacked a security check-post in the Sara Rogha area of South Waziristan. No group has accepted responsibility for the attack. This incident comes amid the recent surge of attacks in the district. Previously, on 14 February, security forces in the areas of Ahmadzai Wazir and Mehsud tribes of South Waziristan district witnessed attacks. Two soldiers were martyred and five others injured when an improvised explosive device hit their vehicle and exploded near Wana, following which the district administration imposed a curfew in Wana and its adjacent areas. The curfew was subsequently lifted on 19 February. (Dilawar Wazir, “Five soldiers martyred in South Waziristan attack,” Dawn, 20 February 2020)

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Fahd Hussain makes an argument that the Senate elections have generated their own sense of chaos. Khalid Bhatti, makes a larger argument that whether it is at the union council level or within national and provincial constituencies, is plagued by money, influence and power. In his editorial in the Friday Times, Najam Sethi tries to answer the question why is there such an outcry today by the government and its allies against the buying and selling of Senate votes when yesterday exactly the opposite sentiment was lauded by them?
 
An editorial in Dawn makes an argument that the brief window for a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan is closing fast.

 

"The family members of ‘missing’ persons from Balochistan are staging a sit-in in the capital to protest the enforced disappearances of their loved ones — a sight that has tragically become all too familiar in the country...It is the responsibility of the government to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of these citizens and give them answers about their missing family members."
-An editorial in Dawn on 'Missing Relatives'

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