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Daily Briefs

1 December 2022, Thursday I Vol 3, No.262

ECP reporting a four per cent drop in the gender gap

29 November 2022, Tuesday I Vol 3, No.261

Senate Committee passes the Corporal Punishment Bill


Photo : Dawn

1 December 2022, Thursday I Vol 3, No.262

ECP reporting a four per cent drop in the gender gap



Punjab local government polls to be held in April 2023, NAB presents details of nearly 1000 cases and Ishaq Dar stating the government's interest to stop interest-based system in the next five years

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
PROVINCES
Punjab: ECP reports a four per cent drop in the gender gap
On 30 November, the Election Commission in Punjab claimed that the gender gap between male and female voters has reduced to eight per cent because of the “awareness-raising” campaign and that civil society organisations (CSOs) have worked the bridging this gap extensively. The Joint Provincial Commissioner said that the “development” of the society is imperative and that equal opportunities to “all people” in the electoral process should be maintained and provided. He said that a special voter registration campaign is a plan of action by the government that would tackle the incessant gender gap in eight districts. He said that the CSOs ensured women's participation in the electoral process and that they “assured” their cooperation with the ECP to raise further awareness in public. (“Punjab posts 4pc drop in gender gap between male, female voters,” Dawn, 1 December 2022)

Punjab: Local government polls to be held in April 2023
On 30 November, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that the local government (LG) elections would be held in the last week of April 2023 and that the Punjab government was notified of the same under the Punjab Local Government Act of 16 November 2022, where the ECP would start delimitation for the third time.  ECP asked the Punjab government to hand out copies of the ECP’s rules and other information to the Punjab Election Commissioner and said that the delimitation process would “start as soon as possible” and that the elections would be held at the earliest. The Punjab government said that the draft rules would be submitted before the ECP for feedback and assured cooperation. (Iftikhar A Khan, “ECP to hold LG polls in Punjab in April 2023,” Dawn, 1 December 2022)

Balochistan: 10 terrorists killed during an intelligence-based operation in Hoshab
On 29 November, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that security forces killed 10 terrorists in an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in the Hoshab area of Balochistan and that the IBO was conducted to “clear” a “hideout” of the terrorists who were linked to the firing incidents which targeted security forces and civilians.  The ISPR said that the terrorists “opened fire” on the security forces while they were establishing blockades, and that “heavy exchange of fire” led to 10 killings and one terrorist enduring injuries. Further, the ISPR said that an operation was underway to trace the area for any “heavy cache” of arms and ammunition and that two IEDs were recovered in the IBO. (Naveed Siddiqui, “10 terrorists killed during operation in Balochistan's Hoshab: ISPR,” Dawn, 29 November 2022)

Balochistan: Chief Minister says government ‘not provided’ share of National Finance Commission’s Award
On 1 December, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo contended that the Balochistan government was not even given a 10 per cent share of the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award of the central government, and said that the lack of shares has “worsened” the financial situation of the government. He said that the government would be unable to provide salaries to its employees and that PKR 400 billion was with the central government because of gas royalty. Bizenjo said that the financial crisis of the province was cascading through the “passage of time” and that Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) saw a delay due to the lack of funds. He said that the completion of development projects was imperative to the government. He contended that the provincial government would handle the rehabilitation of the flood-affected areas by itself if the centre releases the funds on time. (Saleem Shahid, “Centre has not even provided 10pc NFC Award share: Bizenjo,” Dawn, 29 November 2022)

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Nine people killed in lower Orakazi, four miners rescued from catastrophe
On 30 November, nine people were killed in a blast inside a coal mine in the Lower Orakzai area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where four others were injured and rescued, later. Reports said that the blast was carried out as a result of a build-up of gas and that 13 workers were present inside the mine at the time of the blast. The commissioner expressed grief and said that the blast occurred because of a methane gas eruption inside the mine and that the officials are dispatched to arrange “quick and effective” medical aid to those who are injured. The commissioner warned the company of strict legal consequences and said that acts of negligence would be sought after in court. (“Nine colliers die in Orakzai mine blast,” The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022)

INTERNAL
National Accountability Bureau presents details of nearly 1000 cases
On 1 December, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted details of 905 cases of conviction which were handed by trial courts and upheld by the judiciary. The NAB put forward the name of the accused persons, conviction dates and the status of the punishments in the high courts and the SC, and said that the information was from the NAB regions. The report said that the Balochistan region saw 171 cases being awarded by the NAB, with plea bargains carried out in 10 cases. The Supreme Court saw 21 cases of disposal in the region, with 12 dismissals. (Imran Ayub, “Bilawal disputes ‘political failure’ narrative on 1971 debacle,” Dawn, 1 December 2022)

Counsel of Noor Mukadam case sees ‘loopholes’, Islamabad High Court resumes hearing
On 30 November, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) began the hearing of the appeal of the convict in the Noor Mukadam case, where the counsel for Zahir Jaffer contended before a bench led by the ECP chief. The counsel said that his contention would continue until the convict was awarded the right to a fair trial, and that the mental health of the convict “was not ascertained” in the right manner. The IHC, however, questioned the counsel’s appeal of filing and said that “only a mentally stable person” could file the appeal and engage with a lawyer. CJP Farooq said that the counsel’s appeal was flawed and that the evidence contrasted with the statements of the witness. He said that “every judgement” of the court was “written in a peculiar background.” The hearing was adjourned until 1 December. (Malik Asad, “Counsel finds flaws in conviction of Noor Mukadam’s killer,” Dawn, 1 December 2022)

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto disagrees with ‘political failure’ claim of 1971 fiasco
On 1 December, in a rally which marked the 55th foundation day of the PPP party, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto objected to the claim that he wanted “correct” the record regarding outgoing chief Gen Bajwa’s statements of East Pakistan being a “political failure” and said that his party and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took the “challenge” to reunite the “disintegrated country” and that the PPP worked to “rebuild” the nation. Further, he said the debacle saw “glory” because of “unity, hope and inclusion.” Bhutto also recalled the history of the PPP, and said that the party was not “spared” and that the PTI has a “long history” of “fraud.” (Hasnaat Malik, “NAB submits details of 905 cases to SC,” The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022)

JUDICIARY
Sindh High Court not satisfied with investigations of gender-based violence cases
On 1 November, the Sindh High Court (SHC) expressed discontentment over the conduct of the investigations in gender-based violence cases and directed the government to push its efforts for the training and “capacity building” of the authorities involved in these cases. In a case involving a man killing his wife, the SHC rejected the appeal of the convict for the lack of a credible investigation and the prevalence of gender in the case. It said that the appeal must be looked at “differently” and that the assailant’s wife was left alone for seven years while struggling with physical and emotional abuse. The SHC said that the police “lacked” the specific skills to deal with crimes of such nature, and asked them to gather “meaningful” evidence and treat them equitably. (Ishaq Tanoli, “SHC dissatisfied with investigation, prosecution in gender-based violence cases,” Dawn, 1 December 2022)

Lahore High Court issues notice to Punjab government, challenges ban on Joyland
On 30 November,  an advocate representing the petition filed by the producers of the film Joyland laid that the film was approved for screening by the government, but had banned the release of the movie because of complaints. The counsel asked the Lahore High Court (LHC) to “hold accountability” for the Punjab government for taking actions that are “arbitrary” in nature and pushed the LHC to bar further restraints for the screening of the film in Punjab. The court issued notices to the respondents for the submission of their replies by 13 December. (“Notices on plea against ban on Joyland,” Dawn, 1 December 2022)

ECONOMY
State Bank of Pakistan announces a special wing to “promote” interest-free banking
On 30 November, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) would establish a special wing that would push recommendations and implement reforms that could help the transition of the interest-based economy to an Islamic riba-free economy. Dar stated that the SBP is imperative in implementing the elimination of Riba and that the government would “extend its full support” to help the financial institution to make their services “competitive enough” to compete with conventional banking services. (Usman Hanif, “SBP to promote interest-free banking,” The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022)

Stalemate of sugar exports continues, talks with government stay inconclusive
On 30 December, the Food Security Ministry said that talks between the government and  Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA)  failed to reach negotiations for a third consecutive time and that the government was “adamant” that the sugar exports were not permissible without confirmation from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) of the 1 million tonnes of surplus stock at the mills. The ministry said that the FBR was directed to give details of the sugar stocks to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) by 5 December. (“Talks on sugar export remain inconclusive,” The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022)

Revenue collection amounts to PKR2.688 trillion, sees an increase of 15 per cent
On 1 December, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said that the revenue collection in the first five months of the present fiscal year has exceeded the set target by PKR 8 billion, amounting to PKR 2.688 trillion. The revenue has shown an increased growth rate of 15.3 per cent, with the FBR raising the projected target of PKR 537 billion in November alone. With an 11.5 per cent growth year-on-year, the growth is credited to the commitment of the government to IMF’s collection target. The collection of direct tax also registered an increase of 43 per cent, with a major dip in the collection of duty and taxes from imports. (Mubarak Zeb Khan, “Revenue collection jumps 15pc to Rs2.688tr,” Dawn, 1 December 2022)

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar wants to stop interest-based system in the next five years
On 30 November, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the government “aims” to abolish the interest-based system, Riba, in the next five years, welcoming the decision of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC), where it declared various laws that were “repugnant” to the “injunctions of Islam.” Dar laid that Riba could be replaced by a system based on Zakat and Ushr and that he has instructed the ministry to look for loans on the Islamic Sukook Bonds and only take interest-based loans when there is “no other option.” Further, he said that Islamic banking in the country is amounting to nearly 21 per cent, and that the government wants to “completely” implement Islamic banking and that the money earned through interest is “easy, but not legitimate.” (“Govt aims to abolish interest-based system in five years, says Dar,” The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022)

EXTERNAL
China seeks dependency on Pakistan for military and economic strategies
On 30 November, the China Military Power 2022 report said that China would seek to achieve its “national rejuvenation” objective by 2049 through international support, and named Pakistan an “all-weather strategic partner.” The report noted that Pakistan’s port and pipeline projects would help China to become “less reliant” on resources derived through strategic choke points and that the BRI would promote economic cooperation with the country. It emphasised the consistent assistance of China through aid, including the successful delivery of the Pakistan Remote-Sensing Satellite. Additionally, examples of China-Pakistan cooperation were cited in the report, with China supplying strike-capable Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Pakistan. (Anwar Iqbal, “Beijing relies on Pakistan to project its might, Pentagon report notes,” Dawn, 1 December 2022)

Pakistan asks for nearly 40 per cent ‘discount’ in crude oil from Russia
On 30 December, Pakistan’s State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik held discussions in Moscow, which ended with no cohesive conclusions, but entailed the Russians to “consider” the demand of Pakistans at a later stage. The Russian delegation asked Pakistan to “honour” its commitments to the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project and said that the model of the project has been finalised, but some clauses of the shareholding agreements are in contention. Malik’s demands for a 30-40 per cent discount on the import of crude oil from Russia were also challenged by the delegation. They said that they “could not offer anything right now”, as “all volumes” of Russia were fully committed. (Khalid Mustafa, “Islamabad-Moscow talks: Pakistan seeks Russian crude at 30-40pc discount,” The News International, 1 December 2022)

Special Notes

Follow-Up: Imran Khan’s assassination probe
Status of the probe
Imran Khan alleged that “three criminals” are waiting to take a shot at him again. He said two were those he had previously identified; one who fired at him and the other leaders and the other who fired at the container, and the third one who was meant to silence the assassin so they could not reveal any details.
Imran claimed that this third shooter had actually killed a person who lost his life in the attack while trying to kill the would-be assassin.

Pakistan on Twitter

"The increasing incidence of HIV & Aids among the children & adolescents is deeply worrying. I urge Ministry of Health to focus on awareness about testing, prevention & treatment to fight scourge. On World Aids Day today, let us all vow to end the stigma attached to HIV.”
-Shehbaz Sharif

"In the election of 2018, a rigged fake government was imposed on the country and political instability came in the country. There was revenge, it was necessary to free the nation from this fake power.”
-Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman

"Abrar-ul-Haq has once again brought a wonderful hymn about true freedom. In the true sense, only free nations use their unsheltered human potential to rise up and become the Shaheen of Iqbal."
-Imran Khan

Also read...

Editorial, A perpetual threat
The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022
he TTP, by making undue demands such as reversal of the ex-Fata merger with K-P and release of hardened criminals, has made the spirit of accommodation quite unbecoming. So is the case over the issue of TTP laying down arms and returning to their homeland. This impasse and imminent threat demands immediate action. It’s time to go back to the resolve of saying no to any kind of appeasement. Only then can sovereignty and security be guaranteed.

Editorial, Quetta attack
Dawn, 1 December 2022
The political leadership, as well as the new military high command, must be clear about the goal: under no circumstances should the militants be allowed to re-establish a foothold in the country. The state needs to strike now, while the Afghan Taliban must be unambiguously told that their soil cannot be used to host anti-Pakistan terrorists.

Editorial, A call for bloodshed
Dawn, 30 November 2022
For groups like the TTP, ‘negotiations’ are a means to buy space and time to regroup. But most importantly, the state needs to realise that where we are now is the result of decades of flawed, security-centric policies, particularly the notion of ‘strategic depth’ that, with the second coming of the Afghan Taliban, has boomeranged — and raised the spectre of a nightmare revisited.

Editorial, Punjab crisis
Dawn, 1 December 2022
Whether or not elections are called early — this paper has suggested that they should be — the PTI should consider staying in the system and using it as the platform for its political demands. With governments in two provinces, it will have plenty of opportunities to serve its voters by improving governance to boost its electoral chances.

Editorial, Back to chaos
The News International, 1 December 2022
The economy is in too unstable a position to withstand any more pressures and while the games being played could bring some benefit to the individual parties and their leaders, they will in the end hurt the people of Pakistan, who these parties profess to represent.

Shahid Najam, The governance failure — an existential risk
The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022
Once the consensus is evolved and a ‘Charter of Pakistan’ is agreed by the major state institutions and actors, Army must steadily and perpetually withdraw from the political arena and confine its commendably executed role — safeguarding the territorial integrity of the country against internal and external threats.

Editorial, Missing childhoods
Dawn, 30 November 2022
Child brides tend to leave their education incomplete, and also face a greater threat of spousal abuse. To tackle this problem, the state needs to address two key areas: legal safeguards and their implementation, as well as changing mindsets in the long term.

Editorial, Gruesome murders
The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022
Unfortunately, in Pakistan acts of domestic violence are considered a family matter, especially by the police. Lack of response and action has created a trend of domestic aggression and outburst that is carried out by males with impunity… Determining the mental state of the perpetrator will help immensely at mitigating and dealing with such acts in the future.

Editorial, Need to prioritise Blue Economy
The Express Tribune, 1 December 2022
The country should transition from a traditional old economy to a new Blue Economy in order to accommodate both our population expansion and global trends. CPEC offers a fantastic chance to develop our maritime industry and fully utilise the Blue Economy.

Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, Exploiting climate diplomacy
Dawn, 1 December 2022
The global discourse on carbon markets and trading, carbon capture and sequestration, shift towards non-combustion engine vehicles and long-lasting batteries, phasing out of coal and fossil fuels, blue and green hydrogen energy clearly indicates that climate diplomacy has moved beyond the narrow confines of UNFCC processes. To quote: ‘It’s [about] the economy, stupid!’

Mirza Moiz Baig, Law and technology
Dawn, 1 December 2022
With rapid advancements in technology characterising the world we inhabit, will the law only continue to regulate technology or will the law embrace technology? Indeed, when social reality changes, the law must change too. To quote from the judgement itself, “Just as the change in social reality is the law of life, responsiveness to change in social reality is the life of the law.”

 

“We need to change the manner in which we look at news and at the lives of people. To do so, a change needs to be made in the mechanism of collecting news and all that surrounds it. There must be some focus on stories which are not essentially of a political nature, but which affect the politics of the country, in the sense that they further reduce the quality of life for so many people.” 

-An opinion in The News International on ‘The real news of the day


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