Daily Briefs

21 September 2023, Thursday| Vol 4, No.197

UAE bans meat imports from Pakistan

20 September 2023, Wednesday| Vol 4, No.196

Bilawal demands “Level Playing Field” from PML-N

19 September 2023, Tuesday| Vol 4, No.195

Pakistan rejects claims of selling arms to Ukraine for IMF bailout

Photo : Dawn

31 May 2023, Wednesday I Vol 4, No.108

Imran Khan believes PTI deserters forming "Kings Party"

Pakistan's Political crisis: Day 21

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Day 21
Pakistan’s Political Crisis: PR Daily Updates
Femy Francis

This is a new section looking at the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan, starting with the arrest of Imran Khan, subsequent violence on 9 May by PTI cadres targeting the Establishment, relief to Imran by the judiciary, response by the government and the Establishment, and the exodus within the PTI. This section provides a daily brief on the political crisis.

On 30 May, Imran Khan addressed PTI supporters from his Zaman Park residence via video link. He believes that a “King's Party,” is being formulated where all PTI deserters will be joining as they see no scope of victory with the federal coalition. He lamented the aggressive crackdown against his supporters and especially the ticket holders. Furthermore, he condemned the mistreatment of the women PTI supporters and especially the detainees.
On 30 May, Imran Khan issued a defamation probe against Abdul Qadir Patel, Health Minister for spreading misleading and confidential medical reports. On 26 May, private health reports of Imran Khan claimed to be conducted while in custody were shared with the public. The report deduced that no leg fracture was found and that traces of alcohol and illegal drugs found in his sample. He called the move: “wrongful, baseless, false, misleading, erroneous, malicious and defamatory.” Furthermore, demanded PKR 10 billion in donation to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital as reparations for defaming him. Additionally, Imran Khan issued a surety bond of PKR 100,000 each for four criminal cases right after securing pre- arrest bail from LHC. Advocate Habib issued the bond in place of his client Imran Khan.

On 30 May, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of Awami Muslim League (AML), a PTI sympathizer, issued a statement to NAB where he was questioned over the Al- Qadir Trust case. Rashid stressed that he was not present at the cabinet meeting where the case was discussed and has no information or connection regarding the inquired case.
On 30 May, Senators Dilawar Khan and Hilalur Rehman of PTI publicly condemned the 9 May violence. The former stated that the army was the pride of the nation and that the perpetrators should be punished.

On 30 May. Shehbaz Sharif, sticking to his prior statement, refuses to hold talks and negotiate with PTI.  While he did agree several constitutional and political breakthroughs were facilitated by holding talks, the matter at hand was different. The difference being that these are “anarchists and arsonists’ who in power and image of being politicians attacked the state. He urged that they should be held accountable for their “militant actions”. Additionally, Rana Sanaullah stated that Imran Khan would be tried under military court as he accused him of plotting and planning the attacks on military installations.
Usman Anwar Punjab Inspector General addressing a live press conference denied the claims of the mistreatment of imprisoned PTI women activists. He asserted that misinformation was spread where they claimed that the ladies were wounded. He said: “We are going to protect our institutions and installations but we are not going to let go of human rights.” This come after Imran Khan alleged that several PTI women detained were facing discrimination and mistreatment.

In Brief  
CPO re-arrests two PTI leaders immediately after the release
On 30 May, PTI leaders Shehryar Khan Afridi and Ali Mohammad Khan were re-arrested under MPO right after their release. Afridi was accused of planning a group to committed to spread violence or deliver unlawful speeches. The City Police Officer said that two leaders were detained under Section 3 of MPO to avoid violence. Meanwhile, Ahmad Hussain Shah, the former adviser to KP Chief Minister, resigned from the party and expressed his choice to join the party formed by Tareen. Further, he stated: “I am Pakistan army’s retired officer and being an ex-soldier, I cannot tolerate what had happened with this country on May 9, the darkest day of our history and, therefore, quit the PTI in protest.” (Mohammad Asghar, “Two PTI leaders re-arrested after being released,” Dawn, 31 May 2023)
Fawad and Sheikh are not aware of ‘agreement’, says NAB
On 30 May, Fawad Chaudhry and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed admitted that they were not aware of the agreement of PKR 60 billion adjustments against the debt of Malik Riaz. NAB reported that Fawad had not seen an ‘agreement’ presented in the cabinet; whereas Sheikh replied that he did not attend “that cabinet meeting.” Previously, NAB also questioned Imran Khan for misguiding the federal cabinet by obscuring the documents of ‘agreement.’ (Syed Irfan Raza, “Fawad, Rashid ‘knew nothing’ about approval of Rs60bn adjustment,” Dawn, 31 May 2023)
Alam Khan warns NAB to finish the pending cases
On 30 May, Public Accounts Committee Chairman Noor Alam Khan called for NAB to brief the parliamentarians. He alleged that NAB is slow in inquiring about the cases, and most cases were left without a conclusion for a decade. The committee said: “NAB has failed to deliver.” Alam Khan has warned that if NAB hesitates to report on the cases, then cases would be transferred to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Further, the member of the National Assembly claimed that NAB had “facilitated bureaucrats, ministers and prime ministers.” (Jamal Shahid, “Govt may refer unsolved NAB cases to FIA,” Dawn, 31 May 2023)
Imran Khan initiated a plan for the 9 May violence, says Sanaullah
On 30 May, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced that Imran Khan would be tried in military court for attacking the army installations and the 9 May violence. He claimed with evidence that the PTI chief planned the attacks and said: “They (Imran’s supporters) chanted a slogan, ‘Imran Khan is our red line’, and then planning and preparation was carried out on his initiative and instigation.” Further, he alleged that the arson was decided before Imran Khan’s arrest. (“Imran Khan Will Be Tried In Military Court For May 9 Attacks: Sanaullah,” The Friday Times, 30 May 2023)
Imran sends defamation notice to Patel on addressing ‘false’ medical report
On 30 May, Imran Khan issued a notice of PKR 10 billion under the Defamation Ordinance (2002) to Health Minister Qadir Patel for ‘false’ claims about his medical report. Previously, Qadir addressed that five expert doctors have given a report which stated that Imran Khan’s mental health is ‘questionable.’ The notice read that “wrongful, baseless, false, misleading, erroneous, malicious and defamatory” information on Imran’s mental health was provided by Qadir, and it did not have any details of the examination. Imran Khan alleged that Patel’s remarks were done consciously and demanded to renounce the statements. Further, the PTI chief asked Patel to pay PKR 10 billion, which will be donated to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre. (“Imran Serves Rs10b Defamation Notice On Patel Over ‘False’ Claims,” The Friday Times, 30 May 2023)
Only a government without the army’s help will address the country’s issues, says Imran Khan
On 30 May, Imran Khan said in a video link that a government formed with the aid of the ‘establishment’ would fail to address the country's problem. He alleged that coalition governments do not have enough potential to face the elections and form a strong government. He expressed his grief at how PTI leaders were being “tortured” and stated: “Our leadership is either in jail or in hiding.” Besides the arrest and assassination attempt, he claimed that he had remained determined in his commitment to achieving the “Haqeeqi Azadi” (real freedom) of Pakistan. At the end of the video, he called for people to come forward to voice against the oppression and reiterated: “Great is the death that comes in the struggle for freedom. We must stand up now and strive for true freedom.” (Imran Adnan, “Imran says ‘king’s party’ in the making,” The Express Tribune, 30 May 2023)
Imran Khan to JIT: Cooperation amidst security concerns
On 30 May, Imran Khan submitted his reply to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) through his lawyers. He said: “Taking into account the extreme threat, security concerns, and huge cost implications to the state as well as myself, I will appreciate [it] if I am facilitated at [my] Zaman Park residence on any date/time of your convenience.” However, the JIT members refused to accept his written request. The JIT had summoned Imran to investigate the vandalism at Jinnah House, which occurred during protests following his arrest. In his reply, Imran cited limited response time, his pre-arranged court appearances, security threats, and previous illegal custody. He expressed willingness to cooperate and suggested joining the investigation through video conferencing or receiving a questionnaire. (“Imran skips JIT’s Jinnah House attack probe,” The Express Tribune, 31 May 2023)
PAC Chairman directs NAB Chairman to appear, criticizes performance and expenses
On 30 May, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Noor Alam Khan, expressed his dissatisfaction with the absence of NAB Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmad Butt and directed a PAC meeting for his appearance. Alam stated that he has more powers than NAB and would investigate whether the flight cancellation claim was valid. He criticized NAB's performance, pending cases, and expenses incurred on dropped cases. Alam asserted that he won't take briefings from NAB officials and demanded the PAO's presence. During a meeting, Alm revealed that PAC has recovered almost PKR 1 trillion from different departments. (Rizwan Shehzad, “PAC accuses NAB of ‘facilitating’ corrupt people” The Express Tribune, 31 May 2023)
Think Tank urges timely general elections to address political and economic turmoil
On 30 May, the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat) called for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to be fully prepared to conduct general elections by October this year. Pildat emphasized the need for transparent and timely elections to restore political stability and address economic challenges. It highlighted that the armed forces should have no role in politics and called for justice against those involved in attacks on military properties. Pildat urged the government and PTI to engage in political dialogue to determine a consensus-based election date. ( Iftikhar A. Khan, “Pildat advises govt not to delay polls beyond October” Dawn, 31 May 2023)
SCBA President claims Supreme Court Act infringes on the court's powers
On 30 May, the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Abid Shahid Zuberi, filed a concise statement arguing that the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act, 2023 encroaches upon the powers of the apex court to establish its own rules and regulate its practice and procedure. Zuberi stated that Article 191 of the constitution grants exclusive power to the court to make its rules and is not subject to any provision of the constitution. The statement will be considered by an eight-judge Supreme Court bench, which suspended the Act in April. (Nasir Iqbal, “Law to clip CJP’s powers ‘unconstitutional’, SCBA tells court,” Dawn, 31 May 2023)

Finance Minister assures progress on IMF program
On 30 May, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar assured that all formalities for the 9th review program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been completed, although the program is taking time. He stated this during a meeting with the President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kashif Anwar, where budget proposals were presented. Dar emphasized that the upcoming federal budget would be business-friendly and urged all segments of society to work together to overcome the country's difficult economic situation. Anwar, on the other hand, suggested measures to mitigate the foreign exchange crisis, enhance tax compliance, reduce the cost of doing business, and make the tax system more favorable for industries and taxpayers. (“Govt expending its energies on bringing economy back on the rails: Dar,” Business Recorder, 31 May 2023)
Import suppression in Pakistan causes shortages and plant closures, hindering economic activity
On 31 May, Business Recorder reported that the deliberate policy of import suppression in Pakistan is resulting in shortages of goods and industrial plant closures, negatively impacting economic activity and revenue collection. According to Pakistan's International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative, imports have significantly declined, while exports have decreased. The country's Large Scale Manufacturing Industry (LSMI) output has declined as well. This import compression policy has led to lower-than-expected tax revenue due to reduced imports and customs duty collection. (Tahir Amin, “Shortage of goods, plant closures: IMF identifies import curbs as the real culprits,” Business Recorder, 31 May 2023)
Musadik Malik: Importing Russian oil will have a long-term impact on fuel prices
On 30 May, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik stated that importing cheap oil from Russia would not lead to an immediate decrease in fuel prices, but rather a gradual decline once the supply from Moscow is continuous. He said: “Importing oil from Russia is not a [mere] promise. It’s not just talk. The ships have reached Oman and the supply of cheap Russian oil to Pakistan will begin in a week.” Pakistan is pursuing the import of cheap Russian oil to meet one-third of its crude requirements. Minister Musadik Malik has placed a first order for Russian oil and will assess the import in the future. He also mentioned the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project as a means to fulfill the country's energy needs. (“Impact of imported Russian oil on fuel prices to take time: Musadik Malik,” Dawn, 31 May 2023)

Sindh: Legislators condemn census irregularities
On 30 May, the recently completed census was criticized by MNAs in Sindh due to flaws that would worsen the perception of deprivation among residents of smaller regions. Deputy speaker and politician Zahid Akram Durrani and Aslam Bhootani raised concerns about the water shortage in Sindh due to the non-implementation of the 1991 Water Accord. Sabir Qaimkhani alleged irregularities had been committed during the census process and that the population of Karachi and Hyderabad had been increasing at a rate of 2.5 per cent per year, while in some other cities, there had been a 10-15 Per cent increase in the population. He said:” The voter's list of the Election Commission of Pakistan could be examined to find out the adult population.” The National Assembly passed two private member's bills and an amendment to the assembly rules, including the Pakistan General Cosmetics Bill 2023 and the Export Processing Zones Authority Bill 2019. (Amir Wasim, “Sindh lawmakers decry irregularities in the census,” Dawn, 31 May 2023)
A PIA airplane was stopped in Malaysia owing to unpaid debts
On 31 May, Dawn reported that a legal disagreement caused the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777 to be grounded at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The PIA has disputed the leasing company's claim that it owed USD 4.5 million in unpaid dues. The PIA has engaged its legal team in Kuala Lumpur to contest the matter in court. The passengers of the disputed PIA Boeing 777 have been accommodated on an alternative aircraft, while the disputed Boeing 777 will also operate as a normal commercial flight from Kuala Lumpur. This is the second dispute that has resulted in the seizure of a PIA aircraft in Malaysia Kuala Lumpur. This is the second dispute that has resulted in the seizure of a PIA aircraft in Malaysia. (Mohammad Asghar, “PIA aircraft stopped in Malaysia for ‘unpaid dues’,” Dawn, 31 May 2023)
The West monitoring Pakistan and Belarus are attempting to establish closer ties
On 30 May, Western countries, especially the US, are watching as Pakistan and Belarus pledge to become long-term partners. Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik is on a two-day official visit to Pakistan, which is being seen as a 'routine' visit by Islamabad, but an 'exceptional' one by the West. The two sides agreed to support business initiatives to develop trade and industrial cooperation between the two countries. FM Aleinik invited FM Bilawal to visit the republic and held delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and COAS Gen Asim Munir. During the meeting, the two foreign ministers had a wide-ranging and substantive discussion on a variety of topics including political, economic, technological, cultural, educational, and multilateral cooperation. (“West Keeps Close Watch As Pakistan, Belarus Seek Closer Ties,” The Friday Times, 31 May 2023)
Anti-state activities have resulted in the banning of 106 accounts
On 31 May, Dawn reported that Police officers blocked over 100 social media accounts for promoting sectarianism, anti-state, terrorist, and anti-Islam activities in response to the findings of the Provisional of Violent Extremism Unit (PVE) of the capital police's Counterterrorism Department (CTD). The Counter-Terrorism Department recommended blocking 203 accounts, of which 106 have been blocked. Requests were sent to the FIA for the closure of each account with details and screenshots of illegal activities. (Munawer Azeem,106 accounts blocked over ‘anti-state’ activities,” Dawn, 31 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

"Pakistan was 129 out of 140 countries in the rule of law index before the crackdown on PTI was unleashed with an assault on our fundamental rights never experienced before by the nation. Today we have fallen to the levels of Myanmar and Sudan where might is right is the law. Without rule of law we will neither have democracy (freedom) or prosperity nor a future."
-Imran Khan

"Govt is taking extremely dangerous path by considering Imran Khan's trial in a military court. It undermines justice & makes the legal system obsolete. Trial of civilians should be held within legal framework. Otherwise, we will make all citizens vulnerable to naked gangsterism."
-Ammar Ali Jan

"Pakistan given GSP+ in Jan 2014 until 2023. In return Pakistan committed to ratify 27 int’l human rights conventions, labour standards & comply with promises made. Just as renewal of GSP+ is being reviewed Transgender Rights Act 2018 declared against Islam by Shariat Court. Sad."
-Farhatullah Babar

Also read...

Zahid Hussain, Game of political engineering
Dawn, 31 May 2023
“Amid the clampdown and exodus of senior party leaders, there is some indication of softening in Khan’s hard-line position. In a recent statement, he called for talks among all stakeholders to resolve the present political crisis. It is a sharp departure from his earlier position not to engage with the ruling coalition at all. With his party facing disintegration and the sword of disqualification hanging over his head, Khan’s options are shrinking. His political survival also depends on the continuation of the democratic process."

Rafia Zakaria, Erdogan again
Dawn, 31 May 2023
“Whether or not the Turkish people had all this in mind when they set off to vote first in the initial election and then in the run-off is unknown. It is certain, however, that their not so new leader Recep Erdogan, having been on the world stage in some capacity or another for many decades, is uniquely qualified if not to be a world leader in his own right then at least a power broker that can transform the role that his country plays in the world to come.”

Rukshana Shah, Caregivers’ burden
Dawn, 31 May 2023
“It is the responsibility of the government to reinforce these initiatives through training of social welfare and health officials about the laws, rules and services related to SNC rights. Financial subsidies, free healthcare, hospitalisation, and maternal counselling must be given to SNC and their families. The government must engage with community notables, religious leaders, NGOs and CBOs and the media to create awareness and mobilise collective community support for their inclusion in educational, economic and sociocultural activities.”

Mahir Ali, Never say die 
Dawn, 31 May 2023
“Notwithstanding Kissinger’s purported threat to “make a horrible example” of Z.A. Bhutto if he proceeded with Pakistan’s nuclear aspirations, there was a bit of a mutual admiration society between the two of them, with ZAB hailing Kissinger as a 20th-century Metternich. Kissinger is quoted in Owen Bennett-Jones’ The Bhutto Dynasty as saying: “I am reluctant to negotiate anything with Prime Minister Bhutto. I always lose my shirt.”

Mueen Batlay, Pakistan must step back from its moment of insanity 
The Express Tribune, 31 May 2023
“There are many examples of how nations have de-escalated conflicts, ended bitterness, and returned to a path of development and prosperity. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa is one recent example. President Nelson Mandela recognised the power of the truth. But he also weighed the destructive might of recriminations and revenge. We need an exit ramp to get off the highway of self-destruction.”

Talat Masood, The impact of global rivalries
The Express Tribune, 31 May 2023
“Our political leaders must focus on how best can Pakistan benefit from its good relations with the two major powers. In the present world it is possible, but demands a lot of finesse and balancing that comes with mature leadership anchored to the interests of the country and the well-being of its people. Having elections on time are important but more essential is for the incoming government to tap the potential of the Pakistani society.”

Aftab Ahmed Khanzada, Guilty are us, the sheep — not the wolves 
The Express Tribune, 31 May 2023“
But if somebody still disagrees with me, I dare ask a few questions. Did Malik Ghulam Muhammad and Iskander Mirza do all the bad deeds alone? Could Zia-ul-Haq alone have done all the wrong things? Is corruption, looting, extremism and other such evils, being committed by the wolves in our country for 76 years, possible without the support and cooperation of us, the sheep? Could all this power, authority, freedom and privileges being enjoyed by the wolves be possible without us, the sheep, permitting? Were we not all silent watching state institutions being destroyed? All these evils have neither arisen nor spread overnight nor have they been thrown by any enemy. So we should stop crying and yelling because all this has happened with our own will and permission. The guilty are not the wolves, but we, the sheep.”



“Earlier a victim of the establishment’s machinations, PML-N has now become an instrument of it.”

-An opinion in Dawn, Game of political engineering

Photo : Dawn

30 May 2023, Tuesday I Vol 4, No.107

Day 20 Pakistan’s Political Crisis: PR Daily Updates

Qadir iterates on establishing a constitutional court and Rawalpindi ATC surrenders eight suspects for military trial.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Femy Francis

This is a new section looking at the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan, starting with the arrest of Imran Khan, subsequent violence on 9 May by PTI cadres targeting the Establishment, relief to Imran by the judiciary, response by the government and the Establishment, and the exodus within the PTI. This section provides a daily brief on the political crisis.

On 29 May, Dawn reported that PTI leader Asad Umar appealed for protective bail for two weeks from the Islamabad High Court. He petitioned that he was a law-abiding citizen stressing that he had not been involved in the alleged offense. He also stated that PTI members leaving the party have no effect on their vote share. Stating that the votes belong to Imran Khan and said: “Whether the rest stay or leave doesn’t have any effect on the vote bank.”
Kaneez Fatima was the latest leader to quit the PTI. She refused to state her reason for her resignation while commenting that attacking any property did not suit any political party. She said: “I don’t want to do politics.” Aslam Khan, former MNA, also issued his resignation from PTI and publicly dissociated from the party. He said: “Considering the situations that have arisen, I announce my disassociation with the PTI but will keep working for my country.”
On the other hand, Jamshid Dasti pledged his allegiance to the party and said: “Even the question of leaving the party does not arise. Those who are leaving the party, some are compelled to [while] some are businessmen.”
On 29 May, Imran Khan's presence was demanded on 30 May by the Joint Investigation team over the probe against the attack on Jinnah House.
Government responses
On 29 May, Mohsin Naqvi, Punjab’s Chief Minister, refuted Imran Khan’s allegation against the mistreatment of PTI women activists detained in Prison. Mohsin stressed that the accused were treated in accordance with the law and blamed the party for spreading unnecessary “propaganda.” He further condemned the unfortunate incident of 9 May and demanded accountability.
Lahore SSP Anoosh Masood, after investigation found that there was no sign of mistreatment of the detained members. He stressed that he met the accused individually and that a medical officer was always present at the premises.
On 29 May, Marriyum Aurangazeb, Information Minister, denied Imran’s allegation that PTI member Malik Shzad was pressured to leave. Imran Khan said: “All PTI ticket holders and aspirants today are facing this facism, our fundamental rights are being openly violated while our judiciary helplessly watches on.”
Lahore Anti-Terrorism Court ordered PTI Senator Ejaz Chaudhry and Yashmin Rashid to 14-day Judicial remand. The investigative officer demanded the extension of his remand, stating that he was suspected for attacking the Lahore Askari Tower and that a case was registered against him in Gulberg police station.
Other Institutions/ Developments
On 29 May, General Syed Asim Munir COAS addressed the gathering of Quetta College commenting on the current situation of Pakistan said: “Those who are making futile efforts to drive a wedge and weaken the unbreakable bond between the people of Pakistan and its Armed Forces will never be able to succeed.” and that: “Nexus between the internal collusive elements and external forces to create instability has amply been exposed.”


In Brief
Qadir iterates on establishing a constitutional court 
On 29 May, Irfan Qadir, Special Assistant to PM, said that the PMD is thinking about setting up of constitutional court for ‘unbiased’ constitution interpretation. He iterated that establishing a constitutional court will be a solution for ‘a division’ between judges and biased judgements. He said: “Don’t you think that the time has come to establish the constitutional court,” and briefed the proposed constitutional court structure. The structure is comprised of the former and non-controversial chief justices and judges of the superior courts as well as parliamentarians who are aware of legal matters. Qadir alleged that SC judgements were a ‘judicialization of politics for a long period. Further, he cited the use of the Panama Papers case to disqualify Nawaz Sharif as ‘political engineering.’ In addition, he emphasised that resolving conflict and appointment in the SC must be based on the seniority principle following fitness in the future. (Malik Asad, “Govt considering parallel court for ‘unbiased’ edicts,” Dawn, 30 May 2023) 
Seven PTI leaders resign from PTI
On 29 May, seven PTI leaders from Islamabad, Karachi, Faisalabad, and Jhang including legislators and office bearers, declared to resign from PTI. Most of those leaders condemned the attacks on army installations and demanded justice for the criminals. Kaneez Fatima, Senior Vice President of Punjab Women Wing (one of the PTI leaders), said: “I am quitting PTI and also the politics. So, I resign from all the party positions. I have decided to give time to my family.” Meanwhile, PTI Senators submitted a resolution showing opposition to arson and it stated: “The House extends its unwavering support and shows solidarity with our armed forces and security agencies and the public at large who are affected by these events.” (“Seven more PTI leaders jump ship,” Dawn, 30 May 2023)
Tareen ready to launch a new political party 
On 30 May, The Friday Times reported that former PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen is set to establish a new political party called Pakistan Muslim League-Jinnah (PML-J). The PML-J party will consist of people who resigned from PTI, especially from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Ajmal Jami, journalist and anchor person, mentioned Tareen’s plans regarding launching a new party and his connections with several members who have quit PTI recently.  Further, Jami iterated that rumours were spreading that President Alvi may or may not quit PTI. (“PTI’s KP Dissidents To Join Tareen’s Party In Large Numbers,” The Friday Times, 30 May 2023)
Nawaz and Tareen can appeal against disqualification under the new law
On 30 May, The Friday Times reported that the Supreme Court Review of Judgements and Orders Bill, 2023 enables PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif and former PTI leader Jahangir Tareen to file a petition against their disqualification. President Alvi approved the bill on 26 May 2023. The bill widened Article 184 of the Constitution by providing a right of appeal, where a revision petition can be filed within 60 days. (“New Law Paves Way For Nawaz, Jahangir To Challenge Disqualification,” The Friday Times, 30 May 2023)
Rawalpindi ATC surrenders eight suspects for military trial 
On 29 May, a Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) surrendered eight suspects for military trial. The court’s directives released two separate orders that notified grounds under which the suspect was taken into custody. According to the orders, the suspects were “found guilty of offences under Sections 3, 7 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1952 [sic] read with Section2(1)(d) of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, [which are] exclusively triable by a military court.” Further, the orders read: “Superintendent Jail, Adiala, Rawalpindi is directed to hand over the custody of the above said accused person[s] to the commanding officer for further proceedings in accordance with the law.” (Umer Burney, “May 9 vandalism: Rawalpindi ATC approves handing over of 8 suspects to military for trial,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)
“Pakistan Army can neither be deterred nor coerced by anyone,” says General Asim
On 29 May, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), General Asim Munir addressed Officers of Command and Staff College, Quetta Garrison. He said that the connection between internal conspiratorial elements and external forces to create political instability had been fully exposed to the Pakistanis. He added: “Pakistan Army can neither be deterred nor coerced by anyone.” He highlighted the operational preparation for conventional, sub-conventional and fifth-generation warfare. Further, General Asim iterated that the Armed forces of Pakistan remain grateful to the Pakistanis who have given a suitable reply to the enemy and their collaborators. (“Nexus Between Internal Elements, External Forces Stands Exposed: Army Chief,” The Friday Times, 30 May 2023)
JIT calls for Imran Khan for interrogation on Jinnah House vandalism
On 30 May 2023, Business Recorder reported that Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has called for Imran Khan to inquire about the Jinnah House vandalism. He will be interrogated on the vandalism act and 9 May violence. However, Imran Khan has denounced the act as a “disgrace” to the country and said that it should not have happened. (“Jinnah House attack: JIT summons Imran Khan for questioning,” Business Recorder, 30 May 2023) 

CJP Bandial suggests do not want to repeal Isa-led commission
On 29 May, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, during the hearings of the Punjab election, said that SC did not want to repeal the Justice Qazi Faez Isa-led commission but to protect the independence of the judiciary. Bandial said: “The judiciary and the executive interact with each other, but it should not be done in a secret or by way of coercive method but in a transparent manner.”Further, Justice Bandial suggested the government consult CJP before admitting judges into the judicial commission. (Nasir Iqbal, “SC doesn’t want to axe Isa-led commission: CJP,” Dawn, 30 May 2023)
LHC: Provincial land transfered to army as meeting to alter the terms were not recorded
On 30 May, Dawn reported that the records submitted by the Punjab government to the Lahore High Court show that the minutes of a ministerial committee meeting altering the terms of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were not recorded the provincial administration faced criticism for its choice to lease 45,267 acres to the Pakistani Army for farming. According to the Board of Revenue (BoR), Justice Abid Hussain Chattha stayed the handing over of land, and Mohsin Leghari and Raja Basharat attended the 14 Oct 2022 meeting before the dissolution of the provincial assembly by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. The BoR submitted a summary to the chief minister Sardar Usman Buzdar with regard to the promotion of corporate agriculture farming in February 2023. However, the Public Interest Law Association of Pakistan (Pilap) challenged it in court, arguing that the caretaker government had no power to take the decision and that the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 did not allow it to undertake any activity beyond its scope for welfare without federal permission.(Wajih Ahma Sheikh, “No minutes of meeting that paved way for land transfer to army, LHC told,” Dawn, 30 May 2023)
JKT group intensifies its effort to snag PTI deserters
On 29 May, Tareen held a meeting with former PTI leaders and lawmakers, Aleem Khan, Ishaq Khakwani, Aown Chaudhry, Saeed Akbar Niwani, and Shoaib Siddiqui. The Jahangir Khan Tareen (JKT) group is attempting to increase its ranks by poaching deserters ahead of the upcoming general elections, following the departure of more than 70 leaders and former lawmakers from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). Over 70 PTI leaders and former lawmakers have quit the party in light of the 9 May riots, with a significant number hailing from south Punjab. Tareen is not putting in as much energy this time around, and most party leaders are left with three options: PPP, PML-Q or JKT group.(Zulqernain Tahir, “Tareen group revs up bid to poach PTI deserters,” Dawn, 30 May 2023)

Punjab elections lawsuit is put on indefinite hold by a new legislation
On 29 May, The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of a review petition filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against a top court ruling that directed polls in Punjab on 14 May. Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan disclosed that new legislation, giving the court a right to appeal the new legislation. The CJP postponed the hearing without giving a new date, and the attorney general was asked to get instructions from the government regarding the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act 2023 aims to enlarge the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by providing for meaningful review of judgments and orders passed by the Supreme Court. The review petition will be filed within 60 days of the passing of the original order(Nasir Iqbal, “ New law stalls Punjab polls case indefinitely,” Dawn, 30 May 2023)

The IMF is seeking a board meeting on Pakistan before its current programme expires
On 30 May, Dawn reported that the IMF is in contact with Pakistan's authorities to prepare for a board meeting before a financing programme expires at the end of June. The staff-level agreement for Pakistan's USD 6.5 billion IMF package has been delayed since November, with more than 100 days since the last mission. IMF mission chief Nathan Porter said: “overcoming the present economic and financial challenges would require sustained policy efforts and reforms for Pakistan to regain strong and inclusive private-led growth.” Ishaq Dar said Pakistan will share its budget details with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to clear its 9th review before the budget presentation in early June. (Nasir Iqbal, “IMF hoping for board meeting on Pakistan before current programme expires,” Dawn, 30 May 2023)

Ishaq Dar: The government is committed to advancing Islamic finance
On 29 May, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that the National Savings Centre has been instructed to provide Shariah-compliant products for the first time in Pakistani history as part of the country's strategic objective to expand Islamic finance. He expressed hope that the target will be achieved within the timeline given by the Federal Shariah Court and that 21 per cent of the banking sector has been converted to Islamic banking. The SBP and NBP have withdrawn their application and a steering committee has been formed to implement the Federal Shariah court judgement on Riba. Islamic finance is a rapidly growing sector of global financing, promoting risk sharing and connecting the financial sector with the real economy. (Zaheer Abbasi, “Govt committed to promoting Islamic finance: Dar,”  Business Recorder, 30 May 2023)

The cost of wheat and beans remains high despite imports 
On 30 May, Dawn reported that the prices of wheat and pulses have not decreased even after massive imports in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. Over USD 1 billion was paid by the government to import 2.68 million tons of wheat from July through April of FY23, at an average per-ton (APT) cost of USD 393 as opposed to USD 360 at the same time last year. Pulses cost USD 715 under APT, up from USD 664 the previous year. Wheat prices have increased due to short low crop output and soaring demand, and the quantity of wheat imported has also risen. Aamir Abdullah and Muzamil Chappal urged the government to allow the private sector to import one million tonnes of wheat from Ukraine to bring down flour prices. Cereal Association of Pakistan Chairman Muzamil Chappal stated that the Pulses are now selling under cost due to low demand Pulses prices have remained high due to the rupee devaluation, but are now selling under cost due to low demand. The wheat crop in FY21 was 27m tons, but this year it is 27.5 million tons, raising hope for reduced prices. (Aamir Shafaat Khan, “Prices of pulses, flour refuse to come down despite bulk imports,” Dawn, 30 May 2023)
IMF outlines conditions to provide bailout
On 29 May, The IMF urged Pakistan to follow the Constitution to resolve its political disputes, as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif contacted Kristalina Georgieva to revive the USD 6.5 billion bailout package. The prime minister instructed the finance ministry to share details of the next budget with the IMF, a day before Finance Minister Ishaq Dar criticised the global lender again. Time is against the Pakistani side as only one month is left in the expiry of the programme, although Pakistani authorities still insist that the IMF can shorten the review completion period.IMF mission chief Nathan Porter said: “Sustaining strong policies and obtaining sufficient financing from partners remain key for Pakistan to maintain macroeconomic stability.” He added: “The IMF staff continues engagement with the Pakistani authorities to pave the way for a board meeting before the current programme expires at end-June.”(Shehbaz Rana, IMF spells out terms to unlock bailout,” The Express Tribune, 30 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

"Dialogue is deeply embedded in the political process, which helps democracy mature & evolve. Many political & constitutional breakthroughs occured when political leaders sat across the table to craft a consensus. However, there is a major difference here, the anarchists & arsonists who wear the garb of politicians and attack the symbols of the State do not qualify for a dialogue. They should rather be held to account for their militant actions. This is the prevalent practice even in developed democracies."
-Shehbaz Sharif

"With complete disregard for the rule of law, this fascist govt - far worse than General Musharraf's martial law, has a one point agenda which is to crush PTI. Meanwhile, Pak economy is going into a free fall. Dollar is at Rs. 315 in the open market, while for non CNIC holders the rate is between Rs 320-325. The gap between the official rate & open market rate is Rs30/$. This dollarization of economy means no local or foreign investment into the country, which will result into contraction of the GDP and worse, lead to hyperinflation. The PDM leaders have billions of dollars stashed abroad, and understandably they are not pushed. The question is, how on earth is the Pakistani establishment allowing the country to head towards a complete economic meltdown?"
-Imran Khan

"No or delayed decision is worse than a wrong decision.Pakistan needed re profiling of local & foreign debt at least for a decade.We delayed as we are egoist, irrational & live in illusion. As a Pakistani I urge that time is short. Worsts economic conditions are knocking the doors."
-Syed Shabbar Zaidi

Also read...

Arifa Noor, Beyond the crackdown,
Dawn, 30 May 2023
“Does this mean that the stage is being set to make sure neither the PPP nor PML-N emerge too strongly from the elections? Is a hung parliament the dream and the aim? But a hung parliament will mean another coalition government stuck worrying about the demands of its allies and the difficult decisions needed to fix the economy. Will such a government throw up a decision-maker willing to take risks? Indeed, much remains unclear, even though the PTI now has been cut down to size.”

Dr Niaz Murtaza, End of chaos?
Dawn, 30 May 2023
“If we have a Sharif prime minister and Ishaq Dar as the finance czar after elections, our economic mayhem will increase. They would be out of their league in tackling the huge problems we face given the black hole that the economy has entered due to the damage done by the PTI and PDM’s economic policies and the PTI’s anarchic politics. Continued poor economic management may lead to default and more political chaos. The PDM must appoint an able cabinet to avoid such a situation.” 

Editorial, Judicial quarrels
Dawn, 30 May 2023
“Release orders, bails, habeas corpus rulings, and so on have been treated with disdain, signalling the rapid breakdown of the idea of the separation of powers as envisioned in our Constitution and the quiet ushering in of a more authoritarian system of governance. Those at the very top of the judiciary must realise that their space and power are being encroached upon while they quarrel. A full court meeting must be called post haste to chart a path forward. The judges must talk over their differences and close ranks. The institution is quickly being compromised; they may not have long to act.” 

Jazib Mumtaz, Fundamental rights and 50 years of Constitution,
The Express Tribune, 30 May 2023
“The status of social and economic well-being of the people of Pakistan has remained depressed for the last 50 years…..statistics present a bleak scenario of our socio-economic well-being. No State authority or State organ has managed to implement any part of the Principle of Policy, the core of the Constitution, in its true spirit. The State should focus more on the implementation part to carry out the constitutional obligations in its true spirit. Only then we could earn the right to celebrate.”

Muhammad Hamid Zaman, Imagination and memory,
The Express Tribune, 30 May 2023
“Our disappearing memory allows us to bring the same characters in positions of power who have failed us repeatedly. Maybe the trait we need most at this stage is accountability — fair, honest and across the board. This includes accountability of those in uniforms and those in black robes, for actions today and those that were carried out in the past. What we need to imagine is not another shady conspiracy, but a society where human respect, dignity and the rule of law would be paramount.”



“Without visionary leadership committed to Pakistan, the country cannot be transformed into a successful state.” 
- An opinion on The Express Tribune, 'Reimagining Pakistan: need for a plausible roadmap'


Photo : Dawn

29 May 2023, Monday I Vol 4, No.106

Day 18 and 19 Pakistan’s Political Crisis: PR Daily Updates

PTI women in prison claim mistreatment and Defence and Interior Ministers reject negotiations with Imran Khan

PR Daily Brief |

Varsha K 

This is a new section looking at the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan, starting with the arrest of Imran Khan, subsequent violence on 9 May by PTI cadres targeting the Establishment, relief to Imran by the judiciary, response by the government and the Establishment, and the exodus within the PTI. This section provides a daily brief on the political crisis.

On 27 May, following several desertions from PTI, Sindh’s former governor Imran Ismail, its President Ali Zaidi, MNA Shaukat Ali and former federal minister Khusro Bkahtiar, who quit PTI, stated that they have a “difference of opinion” and have to look after the family business. Former provincial lawmakers Malik Khurram Ali Khan, Dr Nadia Aziz, Aghaz Ikramullah Gandapur, and Tariq Mehmoodul Hassan (a PTI leader based in London) were also among them who iterated that they could not “tolerate attacks on army installations.” Responding to the defections, Imran Khan remarked that the party leaders resign because they have been pressurised or exposed. 
On 27 May, after the government rejection of Imran Khan’s  25 May “offer” of open dialogue with the federal government, PTI formed a seven-member “negotiation committee” with no explanation of who the committee negotiates with. The committee consisted of Shah Meh­mood Qureshi, Pervez Khattak, Asad Qaiser, Haleem Adil Sheikh, Aon Abbas Buppi, Murad Saeed and Hammad Azhar. It was formed to talk and find a solution to put the country on the path of progress. Raoof Hasan has been selected as PTI’s new information secretary, and he expressed that he would try to redefine the party’s relations with the media and its functionaries across the board. 
On 28 May, Imran Khan responded to Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah's allegations through a video link from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore. He said: “He is so obviously trying to cover up and pre-empt the horror stories about to break in the media.” He accused the PDM government and the Punjab caretaker government of “maltreating and depoliticizing women”, and he added: “Never ever in Pakistan, women have been maltreated as the PDM and Punjab’s caretaker governments doing.” 
He claimed that the government is “pressuring” party leaders to quit and it may continue to do in the “next two, three or even four weeks.” He demanded the government for the provision of a timeframe and declaration for elections for “the sake of the country.” Further, Imran asked SC to ensure that only the “guilty should be punished” and asked for a high-level inquiry, especially for women activists who were detained.  
Responses from Government 
On 27 May, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif rejected Imran’s May 25 “Offer” and added that talks could only be held with political forces, not ‘saboteurs or terrorists. Further, PPP central Punjab general secretary Hasan Murtaza declared that it would examine whether resigned PTI leaders align with PPP’s ideology before enrolling them in the party and reiterated: “We won’t accept anyone who has previously advocated attacking institutions of the state.” 
On 28 May, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also denied that negotiations can’t be held with PTI until Imran Khan takes responsible and apologies for the 9 May violence. Dar added: “You also go through this process. If you are a leader, you should at least do this. Otherwise, this is fascism.” Further, Sanaullah called Imran a shameless man for denouncing the riots and alleged that he never talked like a politician. 
On 28 May, the Government has cancelled diplomatic passports for PTI members - Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Pervez Khattak, Azam Swati, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Muhammad Khan, Zartaj Gul, Farrukh Habib and Aon Abbas Bappi including Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as they have not left the PTI. 
Other Institutions and Developments 
On 28 May, Sheila Jackson Lee, a United States Representative, expressed her concern for the “multiple arrests” of the former prime minister. She iterated that Pakistani should have the right to “a free, safe and unfettered protest.” Further, she assured that she will address this to President Biden and Anthony Blinken, Secretary of State to end the human rights violations and she added: “To ensure that we continue to promote the US and Pakistani relationship and a democratic Pakistan.” 

Meanwhile, an anti-corruption observer (media), was concerned with the political and social unrest in Pakistan. Therefore, it requested UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to release a public statement about property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain (2019) and said: “It is our view that the NCA should never allow itself to be influenced by a foreign state in how it concludes its investigations in this way again.”

In Brief
PTI women in prison claim mistreatment
On 29 May, Dawn reported that the Punjab Prisons authorities have thus far freed approximately 1,200 out of the total 3,000 PTI leaders and workers who were detained following the 9 May riots. Punjab's jails currently house seven women prisoners affiliated with PTI, including prominent figures like Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid and Khadija Shah. The Punjab Inspector General of Prisons denies mistreatment and dismisses rumours of rape, stating that the PTI women have undergone multiple medical tests and their health condition is stable. The lady ward of the jail is monitored by CCTV cameras, and male officials are not allowed to visit at night to ensure privacy. Adequate facilities, including air coolers and generators for electricity backup, have been provided. The PTI women are classified as 'Class C prisoners' under anti-terrorism charges and are entitled to specific facilities. (Asif Chaudry, “Only seven PTI women behind bars across Punjab: IG prisons,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)

PTI faces wave of defections: Former lawmakers express discontent over violence
On 28 May, former PTI lawmakers Malik Khurram Ali Khan, Dr Nadia Aziz, Aghaz Ikramullah Gandapur, and Tariq Mehmoodul Hassan have announced their departure from the PTI. Khurram and Aziz cited their inability to tolerate the attacks on army installations following Imran Khan's arrest. Aghaz Ikramullah Gandapur condemned the violence and expressed his support for the army. Local leaders Muhammad Iqbal, Mehr Mohsin Raza, Tariq Saeed, and Sajjad Niazi also resigned from the PTI. (Muhammad Ashfaq, Ikram Junaidi, “No let-up in defections as several leaders exit PTI,” Dawn 29 May 2023)

Government's ambiguous stance on PTI talks: Apology demanded 
On 29 May, Dawn reported that the government's position on talks with the PTI unclear as key ministers expressed contrasting views. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar suggested negotiations could be possible if Imran Khan apologized, admitted his mistake, and promised no repetition of 9 May events. However, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique dismissed talks, stating the current situation was not suitable, and criticized the talks committee formed by Imran Khan.(Amjad Mahmood, “Govt blows hot and cold over talks with PTI,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)

Defence and Interior Ministers reject negotiations with Imran Khan
On 29 May, The Express Tribune reported that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah stated that there could be no talks with Imran Khan due to his alleged conspiracy against the military on behalf of foreign forces. He said: “No Pakistani could ever imagine what happened on May 9,” Asif told reporters in Sialkot. “Imran went too far that there can be no talk with him. PTI people say that Imran Khan is their red line. Our red line is our country and its defenders.” Violent protests erupted nationwide on 9 May following Imran's arrest in a corruption case, with government buildings and sensitive military installations targeted. Asif emphasized that Imran had gone too far and his actions were unforgivable, while Sanaullah accused him of sowing seeds of hatred. Both ministers praised former prime ministers and commemorated nuclear tests. Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique also dismissed dialogue with Imran, citing his promotion of hate and disrespect. (“PTI chief’s talks offer draws a blank,” The Express Tribune, 29 May 2023)

Imran Khan denounces allegations of planned 'Raid and Rape' as cover-up
On 28 May, Imran Khan responded to allegations made by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, who claimed that the party planned to stage a "raid and rape" at a PTI worker's home to malign law enforcement agencies. Imran dismissed the allegations as an attempt to pre-empt and cover-up. Imran Khan said: “He is so obviously trying to cover up and pre-empt the horror stories about to break in the media.” Sanaullah provided no evidence to support his claim. Imran criticized the minister's remarks and accused him of trying to hide the mistreatment and harassment of women by the state. He tweeted: “Meanwhile, Islamabad police urged officials to ensure working cameras to prevent targeting of officials in a planned campaign to defame institutions. Activists and journalists expressed concern over the minister's press conference, calling for transparency in the actions of law enforcement agencies and the state. (“Imran responds to Sanaullah’s claims, says minister ‘so obviously’ trying to cover up ‘horror stories’,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)

Imran Khan shares fake video, falsely claiming party leader's fleet being destroyed
On 29 May, The Friday Times reported that Imran Khan shared a video on Twitter claiming that a PTI leader's fleet was destroyed due to political pressure. However, the video was actually from a separate incident in 2022, unrelated to Karachi. This misleading information highlights the need to raise the standards of politics and emphasizes the importance of fact-checking and verifying information on social media. It serves as a reminder for netizens to rely on multiple credible sources before accepting information at face value. (“Fact-Check: Imran Khan Shared One-Year-Old Video To Misguide Public,” The Friday Times, 29 May 2023)
SC concerned as Chief Justice's comments and lack of full court meetings deepen discord
On 29 May, Dawn reported that the Chief Justice of Pakistan's recent comments about efforts to divide the Supreme Court have raised concerns about the court's unity. The government-appointed commission of inquiry on audio leaks, led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, had its proceedings stayed by a Supreme Court bench. The absence of full court meetings and communication among judges has exacerbated the divide. This discord within the judiciary is occurring alongside political and media divisions in the country. The situation calls for dialogue and resolution to maintain the prestige of institutions. (Nasir Iqbal, “Analysis: A divided judiciary exacerbates national disharmony,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)
Pakistani Americans gathering concerned over the political crisis ensuing homeland
On 29 May, Dawn reported that the Pakistani American community is organizing a bipartisan gathering next month of US lawmakers to examine Pakistan's current political crisis. California Democrat, Dr. Asif Mahmood has launched a letter with the signatures of 69 lawmakers demanding unfettered democracy in Pakistan, a campaign to draw attention to the disappearance of journalist Imran Riaz Khan and Khadija Shah, and Sheila Jackson Lee is concerned about reported human rights abuses. A PTI leader from Texas, Atif Khan said: “PTI has long had a large support base and membership including some key leaders here. That trend will likely intensify with the exodus of Insafians from Pakistan, many coming here. It could become a party in exile in the US. “The Pakistani community in the US has increased its participation in American politics, with physicians of Pakistani origin being the most influential. PTI has formed Physicians for Imran Khan, with 1,800 Pakistani physicians already joining ( Anwar Iqbal, “Pakistani Americans continue to highlight issues back home,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)

KSA extends Pakistani passports to thousands of 'Burmese' Muslims
On 19 May, Saudi Arabia agreed to extend Pakistani passports to thousands of Burmese Muslims residing in Saudi Arabia at the request of Islamabad. Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah Khan expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister and the Government of Pakistan for agreeing to renew the passports of Burmese Muslims residing in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government issued Pakistani passports to Burmese Muslims, but these were not renewed after 2012, creating difficulties for them in the Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Iranian President agreed to enhance bilateral trade, multi-sectoral cooperation, and peace and security at the Pak-Iran border, a road-to-Makkah project, including a joint border market and an electricity transmission line to help offset energy needs in Balochistan.(Mushtaq Ghumman, “KSA 
agrees to extend Pakistani passports to thousands of ‘Burmese’ Muslims,” Business Recorder, 27 May 2023)

500 individuals were detained for assaults on delicate installations
On 29 May, Dawn reported that 532 individuals have been detained by the police in relation to violent protests and attacks on GHQ and other important institutions. Out of the 532 suspects, 374 had been arrested under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act. In relation to the GHQ incident, the Rawalpindi police have made more than 356 arrests and filed 18 FIR. 105 individuals have been detained thus far, and 23 have had their identification parades finished. To prevent them from traveling overseas, the federal government requested that 245 PTI activists be included in the Provincial National Identification List (PNIL). (Mohammad Asghar, “Over 500 held in Pindi for attacks on sensitive installations,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)

Sindh: The Centre permits the province to make USD 200 million from carbon credits
On 29 May, Dawn reported that the federal government has authorized Sindh to receive USD 200-220 million in carbon credits over the next two decades for expanding mangrove forests in accordance with Pakistan's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Ministry of Climate Change did not have a carbon market policy, despite having promised 15 per cent of carbon credits to the Paris Agreement. Two Indus Delta mangrove projects are already being carried out by the Sindh Forest Department, yielding USD 14.7 million in income. Insisting that the projects will not have a significant impact, the Sindh Forest Department requested a NOC from the federal government to continue selling carbon credits till 2042. (Khaleeq Kiani, “Centre allows Sindh to earn $200m through carbon credits,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)

The tragedy of a gas leak in Rawalpindi has caused concern
On 28 May, a gas leak in Shamsabad resulted in the deaths of four children and the critical condition of their mother, while a separate event at Peoples Colony resulted in the death of a teenage male and the injuries of seven family members. Police and rescue officials reported that an explosion occurred in a house when Imran Ahmed attempted to light a cigarette with his lighter. The explosion caused an area of the house to collapse, burying eight family members. (Mohammad Asghar, “Rawalpindi gas leak tragedy in casts gloom on neighborhood,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)

Ishaq Dar: Pakistan’s government shares budget details with IMF to unlock funds
On 28 May, Ishaq Dar reported that the nation will share its budget information with the IMF in order to release frozen cash. He promised to provide them with the budget's specifics. He said: “They have asked us for some more details like the details of (the) budget, we will give that to them.” The IMF's USD 1.1 billion funding to Pakistan has been held up since November, and the lender has not released the money, which is critical for the South Asian nation to unlock other financing. (“Govt to share budget details with IMF to unlock funds: Dar,” Dawn, 29 May 2023)

Pakistan maintains a Wheat supply
On 29 May, Dawn reported that with 233 million inhabitants and a 2 per cent population growth rate, Pakistan has the fifth-highest population density in the world. With 125 kg consumed annually per person, wheat is the major basic food. Production of wheat is anticipated to be 26.81 million tonnes, falling short of the aim of 28.4 million tonnes for the last few years. Sindh, Balochistan, and South Punjab were all hit by the floods of 2022, with Punjab being the primary producer of wheat. To increase food availability, post-harvest management is crucial, and agricultural think tanks have developed affordable storage options including hermetic bags and mini-hermetic drums(Irfan Afzal, “Maintaining wheat supply,” Dawn , 29 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

"Interior Minister holding a press conference after 12:00 pm and now Islamabad police giving explanations, one thing is clear that the dignity of Tehreek-e-Insaf women in jails is not safe. All the women of Tehreek-e-Insaaf are in the custody of the government and the police and the responsibility of protecting these women lies with the government. Instead of a press conference, there should be a judicial inquiry into the matter. We demand immediate release of all women illegally imprisoned in jails and immediate access to their families and lawyers."
-Asad Qaiser

"Pakistan High Commission (PHC) in New Delhi has shut their school for staff/diplomats due to economic crisis in Pakistan. They had no funds to pay teachers and school staff. Salary pending since last three years. PHC was approaching Pakistan MoFA but Pakistan Govt rejected all requests. More Pakistan missions abroad to face similar situation soon due to fund crunch and financial crisis in Pakistan. Hearing even ISI is unable to pay funds to their assets in South Asia."
-Aditya Raj Kaul

"Imran Khan along with some elements destroyed the door of parliament and democratic politics. Today he is extending his hand to knock but not at the door. Some may be happy that there is no door, no parliament, no asylum. They should remember that if it is not a door, if it is not a parliament, then nothing will happen."
- Farhatullah Babar

Also read...

Maleeha Lodhi, Why UNSC reform is elusive
Dawn, 29 May 2023
“Pakistan voices the position of other UFC countries by arguing that reform should not reinforce inequality and preserve privilege for a few, but give all member states, big, medium, and small, a chance to serve on the Council by rotating elected seats. This would make the body more representative of the membership. Moreover, in the democratic era, reform should be in sync with the spirit of the age. The principle of election is the bedrock of democracy. That should also apply to Council reform. More elected members will make it more democratic and accountable to the general membership.”

Umair Javed, Precedents for the unprecedented
Dawn, 29 May 2023
“In the 2023 edition of this drama, PTI workers have been arrested and tortured; their family members have been picked up and threatened; the party leader is facing a raft of court cases of extremely dubious provenance; and now first- and second-tier leaders are quitting the party andor politics under duress. The goal is to ensure that the party does not return to power if elections are ever held.”
 Huma Yusuf, Prison expressions
 Dawn, 29 May 2023
“The PTI has not been a champion of Pakistani arts, preferring to glorify Turkish soap operas. But in this next difficult era, artists and dreamers will have to play a part in rehabilitating public perceptions of democracy and expanding the notion of politics beyond anti-authoritarianism to encompass inclusion, freedom of faith, and climate justice. As Constitution Hill suggests, celebrating humanity and keeping ideals alive may be our route to an enduring democracy.”
Editorial, Talks are the way out
The Express Tribune, 29 May 2023
“The instant response, nonetheless, from the government that it is not interested in talks needs some serious reconsideration. This is not the time for a tit-for-tat, as the coalition dispensation is constitutionally obliged to go into elections with the end of the parliamentary term, and this offer of talks from the opposition should be seized to smoothen the surface for positive interaction. The PTI by terming that it is interested in only an election schedule, and does not want to broaden the agenda of talks, has minimized its wish list. The polarization that is prevalent in the country, and the economic challenges in the form of the absence of a deal with the IMF, can only be overcome through a broad-based dialogue. Last but not least, as the Supreme Court is set to rule on its earlier orders on holding elections in Punjab, it is only a political agreement that can stem the rot.”

Imtiaz Gul, South Asian politicians’ quest for absolute authority
The Express Tribune, 29 May 2023
“A controversial body headed by a retired general, NAB has been instrumental in implicating a number of former presidents and prime ministers – Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Yousaf Raza Gillani, Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari – as well as their close associates. Strangely, almost all cases evaporated in thin air the moment the incumbents walked into houses of political power.”



“Countries agree on reform but fundamental disagreements persist on specifics”
-An opinion in Dawn, ‘Why UNSC reform is elusive



Photo : Dawn

27 May 2023, Saturday I Vol 4, No.105

Day 17 Pakistan’s Political Crisis: PR Daily Updates

Peshawar ATC grants bail to 85 suspects and Peshawar ATC grants bail to 85 suspects

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Taffy Tonia

This is a new section looking at the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan, starting with the arrest of Imran Khan, subsequent violence on 9 May by PTI cadres targeting the Establishment, relief to Imran by the judiciary, response by the government and the Establishment, and the exodus within the PTI. This section provides a daily brief on the political crisis.

On 27 May, following consecutive resignations of PTI members, MPA Qasim Khan Khattak mentioned that along with him Farkhad Khattak , Karak Khalid Riaz Khattak, Haji Nawaz Ganderwal and president of PTI Karak women’s wing Kulsoom Khattak are quitting the PTI over the events of May 9. Qasim said: “Our sacrifices for the PTI are in front of everyone. Additionally, 12 PTI leaders from Punjab left the party over the 9 May riots, condemning violent attacks on military installations by protestors. Additionally, Senator Saifullah Khan Nyazee and singer Abrarul Haq quit  PTI to focus on family and health.

On 27 May, former special assistant to the Punjab chief minister Firdous Ashiq Awan and Former Punjab education minister Murad Raas blamed Imran Khan's "advisors" in Lahore for bringing the party to where it is today. Firdous Ashiq Awan said: “My journey with PTI comes to an end today … God willing, our political journey will continue because the reason for our politics is the well-being of the people of our constituency.”

On 27 May, Imran Khan revoked the party membership of all defectors, and the PTI's lawyers wing, the Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF), approached the Peshawar High Court for the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the 9 May violence. He believes justice provides freedom to people by giving them rights. He blames corruption for the problems of overseas Pakistanis looking to invest in the country and he vowed to fight for freedom in Pakistan, claiming to have photos of police setting vehicles on fire on 9 May and that the country is heading towards hyperinflation. He said: “A party comes to an end when its vision comes to an end. The PDM parties are before you, they are helping the establishment, and the election commission and administration are with them so why are they scared of elections? … because their vote bank has finished.”

On 27 May, Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel is expected to hold a press conference to reveal details of PTI Chairman Imran Khan's medical reports. He claims Imran's mental stability is questionable. He said: “Being a narcissist, he is insistent on his lies and calls them the truth. This narcissist has been inciting people and diverting the youth to the wrong path.”

On 27 May,.PTI Chairman Imran Khan only wants negotiations with one institution. PTI leader Farrukh Habib has highlighted Pakistan's economic woes, banning Imran Khan and his party on the pretext of 9 May arson, and rejecting Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel's claims about Imran Khan.

Response From Government
On 27 May, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stated that his party will not resist any move to ban PTI "for promoting extremism and violence". CTD launches search for 9 May arsonists in Islamabad's slums. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah says facts of 9 May need to be placed before people. Prime Minister Sharif has stated innocent protesters will not be punished.

On 27 May, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif defended the government's decision to try civilians involved in the 9 May violent protests in military courts, calling the protests an act of rebellion. Eight people arrested in Mardan district for vandalising the statues of war heroes have moved the Peshawar High Court, challenging the inclusion of provisions of the Army Act, 1952 and the Official Secrets Act, 1923 in cases against them. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the Army Act and the Official Secrets Act applies when a person trespasses on a building related to "defence".

On 27 May, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif stated that "red lines" were crossed in a way that was never seen before in Pakistan's history. He said: “On May 9, not a single civilian installation was attacked. Across the world, there have been instances of attacks on civilian installations, but never has it happened that you attack and disrespect your martyrs’ memorials. This is unforgivable

On 27 May, A district court in Lahore issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for PTI President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi due to his non-prosecution. Maryam Nawaz Sharif alleged that Imran removed COAS as DG ISI and brought Lt Gen Faiz Hamid to stay in power for ten years.

In Brief
Peshawar ATC grants bail to 85 suspects
On 26 May, Peshawar Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) issued an order to release 44 accused of attacking the Faqirabad police station due to a lack of evidence against them. Judge Dr Amir Nazir asked the petitioners to provide two surety bonds of PKR 1,00,000 each. Further, 80 suspects, who were accused of looting Peshawar’s Radio building and ECP regional office, were granted bail. Meanwhile, PTI leader Arbab Jehandad Khan argued filed a bail petition who has been convicted for ransacking the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway toll plaza. Responding to that, Arbab claimed that he has been falsely accused. Additionally, two other PTI leaders, Qalandar Khan Lodhi and PTI leader Taimur Khalid, have been sent to jail on judicial remand. (“Bail granted to 85 held over violent protests in Peshawar,” Dawn, 27 May 2023)

Lahore special court orders to arrest Parvez Elahi
On 26 May, Gujranwala Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) filed a case against PTI president Chaudhry Parvez Elahi for embezzlement of development funds. Responding to the case, the Lahore Special Court released warrant orders to arrest Parvez Elahi. Previously, ACE failed to arrest Parvez during the raid. (“Funds embezzlement: Lahore court issues arrest warrants for Parvez,” Dawn, 27 May 2023)

Hussain accuses Imran Khan of bringing “trained terrorists”
On 26 May, Mian Iftikhar Hussian, Awami National Party (ANP) Secretary General, said that PTI has to take responsibility for the extremity and iterated that his party does not encourage banning the party. Hussain accused Imran Khan of bringing 40,000 “trained terrorists” which led to the current state of unstableness. He added: “ PTI remained a supporter of terrorism.” Further, he said that ANP and its followers were against terrorism. (Saleem Shahid, “ANP opposes party ban, holds PTI accountable for the crisis,” Dawn, 27 May 2023)

Interior Minister declares the trial of 33 suspects in military court
On 26 May, following the decision made by National Security Committee, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced that 19 suspects from Punjab and 14 from KP have been produced in military court for the trial. Responding to the PTI's condemnation of the decision, Shehbaz said that only those who were accused of vandalising military installations are tried under military laws and the rest are tried under anti-terrorism laws. Rana added that the military officials examine what act (the Army Act or the Official Secrets Act) applies to the suspects. Further, he said that 80 per cent of the accused were released on bail. (“May 9 violence: Sanaullah says 33 suspects have been handed over to military for trial,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

Rizawan Zia arrested for Jinnah House vandal
On 26 May, The Express Tribune reported that Rizwan Zia, the son-in-law of former IGP, was arrested for Jinnah House vandalisation. He was arrested when the geo-fencing location was exposed. According to The Express Tribune, this act depicts the assiduous nature of law enforcement agencies. (“Ex-IGP's son arrested in connection with attack on Jinnah House,” The Express Tribune, 26 May 2023)

PTI disintegrates in KP if Parvez quit, says Adil Shahzeb
On 27 May, Adil Shahzeb said that if Parvez Khattak quit PTI and join Jahangir Tareen, the PTI party may disintegrate and lose supporters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He added that the judiciary has to help Imran Khan. Additionally, Reporter Hassan Ayub Khan criticised the Judiciary's silence on audio leaks.  (“ ‘If Parvez Khattak Leaves PTI, Party Over In KP’,” The Friday Times, 27 May 2023)

PIMS report says Imran Khan’s mental health is ‘questionable
On 26 May, Health Minister Qadir Patel reported that Imran Khan’s mental health was questionable as per the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) medical report. He said: “The report says that when we spoke to Imran for a considerable time, his actions were not that of a fit man.” Further, the report mentioned that there was no fracture in his leg. He alleged that Imran Khan was a “narcissist” and misguiding the youth.  Accusing Imran as the destroyer of the culture of politeness, Qadir asked PTI: “Is there any social fabric that this party isn’t responsible of destroying?” (“Imran’s Mental Stability ‘Questionable’ As Per Medical Report: Qadir Patel,” The Friday Times, 26 May 2023)

The USAID-funded center promotes water and climate resilience in Pakistan
On 27 May, Dawn reported that the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro, established a center through a USD12 million cooperative agreement between USAID and MUET. The center focuses on climate change, water and food security, flood and drought forecasting, groundwater modeling, and other related areas. They have provided assistance during the floods of 2022, including preparing inundation maps, distributing water-saving filters, and providing potable water filtration kits. The center has also facilitated the research and studies of several women, such as Fiza Mansoor, Sadia Allahditta, and Tayyaba Sohail, who are pursuing higher education and conducting research in water resource management. The US Ambassador, Donald Blome, visited the center to discuss partnerships and support for clean energy and sustainable water management. The visit also included visits to power grid stations, wind power projects, cultural preservation projects, and initiatives supporting Afghan refugees and Pakistani communities. (Shazia Hasan, “US Ambassador Blome meets partners in ‘Green Alliance’ framework in Jamshoro,” Dawn, 27 May 2023)

Pakistani fishermen released by India return home with Edhi Foundation's assistance
On 26 May, The Express Tribune reported that a group of Pakistani fishermen, who were detained by Indian authorities for maritime violations, have been released and returned to Pakistan with the help of the Edhi Foundation. The fishermen, hailing from Punjab, Sindh, and Karachi, were held in Indian jails and were released after completing their sentences. The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi played a crucial role in facilitating their return. The Edhi Foundation will transport the fishermen to their homes in Karachi, while the individuals undergo routine investigations before reuniting with their families. (Asif Mehmood, “20 Pakistanis released by India handed over to Edhi Foundation,” The Express Tribune, 26 May 2023)

Pakistan secures USD 975 million for flood resilience and adaptation projects
On 27 May, Dawn reported that projects worth $975 million, including financing of USD 575 million from the Asian Development Bank and $400 million from the World Bank, have been finalized for implementation in Pakistan. The Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation Project (IFRAP) aims to provide housing reconstruction grants, and livelihood support to farmers, and restore essential services in flood-affected areas of Balochistan. Approximately 2.7 million people in calamity-declared districts will benefit from the project, enhancing early warning systems and strengthening institutional capacity. The International Partners Support Group (IPSG) meeting discussed the implementation status of foreign assistance pledges for climate resilience in Pakistan. (Khaleeq Kiani, “World Bank okays $213m for flood protection,” Dawn, 27 May 2023)

Shehbaz Sharif emphasizes robust entrepreneurship for Pakistan's export growth
On 27 May, Dawn reported that during a textile exhibition in Karachi, the Prime Minister of Pakistan highlighted the resilience and hard work of the country's entrepreneurs in building its export culture. He expressed confidence that with government support and the intellect of the entrepreneurs, Pakistan would ensure the provision of quality export goods to foreign customers. The Prime Minister commended the textile and leather industries for their contributions to promoting exports. He reiterated the government's commitment to supporting various export sectors and emphasized the importance of political stability for economic progress. (Imran Ayub, “PM seeks ideas to lift falling exports,” Dawn, 27 May 2023)

PM Shehbaz forms committees to fine-tune budget proposals
On 27 May, The Express Tribune reported that Prime Minister Shehbaz has established seven committees to fine-tune the proposals put forth by the finance ministry for the next fiscal year's budget. One of the key committees, led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, focuses on pro-poor expenditures. The committee aims to recommend measures for increased salaries, pensions, subsidies, and grants. The proposals may include redirecting subsidies to fertilizer plants for farmers and allocating more funds for electricity subsidies to lifeline consumers. The committees will submit their recommendations directly to the Prime Minister. (Shabhaz Rana, “PM rejects budgetary proposals,” The Express Tribune, 27 May 2023)

Ishaq Dar discusses economic relations with US Ambassador Donald Blome
On 27 May Business Recorder reported that Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar held a meeting with US Ambassador Donald Blome to discuss the deep-rooted bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States, particularly in the areas of economy and trade. Dar shared the government's economic policies and priorities to address the challenging economic environment and promote stability and growth. Ambassador Blome expressed confidence in the government's programs for economic sustainability and pledged support for further enhancing bilateral economic, investment, and trade relations. The meeting also covered. (“Blome briefed about IMF’s ambivalence,” Business Recorder, 27 May 2023)

Peshawar BRT operator raises concerns over unpaid dues
On 27 May, Dawn reported that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) operator Daewoo Pakistan and LMK-Resources Pakistan, responsible for the intelligent transport system and fare collection of Peshawar's BRT system, have raised concerns over the provincial government's failure to clear outstanding dues amounting to over Rs500 million. The companies claim that the funds are available with TransPeshawar, the government-owned company, but political interference and payment delays are hindering the resolution. The non-payment is causing a severe financial burden on the companies and may disrupt the transportation service, affecting the livelihood of thousands of people. (Mansoor Ali, “Peshawar BRT at risk of closure as operators denied Rs500m payments,” Dawn, 27 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“I want to thank the government for putting my name on the ECL as I have no plans to travel abroad, because I neither have any properties or businesses abroad nor even a bank account outside the country.If and when I do get an opportunity for a holiday, it will be in our northern mountains, my favourite place on earth.”
-Imran Khan

“See what changes this government has brought in people's lives. After the end of Tehreek-e-Insaf government and today's price comparison: 132% increase in the price of flour, rice 88%, chicken 72%, dal masoor 71%, milk 44%, sugar 37%. Such a disaster has not happened in the history of Pakistan. Maybe that's why you don't hear about inflation in the media these days.”
-Asad Umar

“The primary questions for Pakistan’s businesses & economy are: Where depreciation of rupee will stop? 310…and where discount rate will reach +21%….? Will these ever be reversed. What is plan B?  A time has come to be realist, nationalist, non egoist & pro people. Save Pakistan.”
-Syed Shabbar Zaidi

Also read...

Faisal Siddiqi, People, sword, pen
Dawn, 27 May 2023
“The destiny of this nation lies in the balance between the people, the sword and the pen. As a first step towards such balance, three things are re­­­quired: immediate free and fair elections, re­­m­o­val of the corrosive deadlock among Supreme Cou­rt judges and the removal of the insecurity of the military leadership of any future political reprisals.”

Dr. Norman Ahmed, Quetta’s challenge
Dawn, 27 May 2023
Quetta needs effective interventions to control and plan population densities, which would involve altering routes to facilitate movement, regulating commercial centres and providing open public spaces. Complex squatter settlements such as Kharotabad and Ghausabad are often seen as criminal hideouts. Devising a digital street-monitoring system at an expanded scale and strictly controlling exit-entry points can, among other measures, help lessen urban violence and reduce terrorism attempts. Elected and empowered local governments must also be revived in Quetta as elsewhere in the province.

Neda Mulji, Reading culture
Dawn, 27 May 2023
“Digital reading programmes make assessing and benchmarking easier so that no child falls through the cracks. Many of these programmes record reading achievement in the form of reward badges or certificates of completion, which motivate readers to continue the effort. With digital support, students learn to read and comprehend faster than ever before.”

Reema Omer, Justice, not vengeance
Dawn, 27 May 2023
“Victims and the people of Pakistan have the right to truth and justice in relation to the May 9 riots and the destruction of public and private property, but this is only possible after perpetrators are convicted after transparent, fair trials. Opaque, secret and unjust military trials of select accused may be used to extract vengeance, but there should be no doubt they have little to do with ensuring accountability or the rule of law.”



“A duly reasoned, written judgement is an essential component of a fair trial.”
-An opinion in Dawn, Justice, not vengeance



Photo : Dawn

26 May 2023, Friday I Vol 4, No.104

Day 16 Pakistan’s Political Crisis: PR Daily Updates

FIA and NAB restrict overseas travel of Imran Khan and PTI leaders and Lahore military court ordered the producion of 16 suspected Jinnah House vandals.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Subiksha S

This is a new section looking at the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan, starting with the arrest of Imran Khan, subsequent violence on 9 May by PTI cadres targeting the Establishment, relief to Imran by the judiciary, response by the government and the Establishment, and the exodus within the PTI. This section provides a daily brief on the political crisis.

On 25 May, following consecutive resignations of PTI members, Malika Bokhari and Ex-Punjab MPA Javed Ansari quit PTI. Malika Bokhari conveyed that she now wants to priorities her family. In a press meeting in Multan, Javed Ansari announced his resignation, expressing his unwavering support to the Army. PTI leader Jamshed Chemma announced his parting with the party and politics, said: “It was not an easy decision to make…to leave politics, you serve the nation in politics, but not at the cost of the armed forces…not at the cost of people who protect the country.” Hammad Azhar worried that his sister’s house had been ‘raided’ after several threats to his father. Despite all these, the Ex-Punjab governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema and PTI Punjab chapter President Rashid Yasmin Rashid have reaffirmed their support for PTI.

On 25 May, Imran Khan cancelled the basic membership of all leaders and office bearers who had quit. Furthermore, they will be removed from the PTI WhatsApp group and no update will be sent. He condemned the act of forcing the members by threatening and arresting them. He said: “Those in PDM and the journalist community who are cheerleaders for this yazeediyat should know that this is not dismantling PTI but our democracy i.e. our freedom”.

Additionally, he challenged the invocation of Article 245, which allows the army to assist the civil administration. He termed it as "undeclared martial law" and argued that it violates the Constitution, rule of law, and independence of the judiciary. He also requested the Supreme Court to form a judicial commission to investigate the events of 9 May.

On 25 May, pledging their devotion to the party, PTI leaders Yasmin Rashid, Mian Mahmoodur Rashid and Omar Sarfraz Cheema reassured that they will not resign from PTI. Cheema stated: "That he was an ideological worker of the PTI and would never part ways with the party. He said his commitment to the party and Imran Khan was unyielding."

Response from Government
On 25 MayFederal Investigation Agency and National Accountability Bureau issued over 80 PTI workers to no- fly list. The list included Imran Khan his wife Bushra Bibi, Asad Umar, Maleeka Bokhari, Qasim Suri, Asad Qaiser, Murad Saeed, Hammad Azhar, Yasmin Rashid, and Aslam Iqbal amongst others. The names have been issued to all airport security aiming to curb their fleeing efforts to avoid arrest.

On 24 May, Sindh Governor Kamarn Tessori has predicted that Shah Mahmood Qureshi will lead the PTI in the coming days after visiting the Lahore High Commissioner Corps building. The Faisalabad Police constable’s service has been terminated by the City Police Officer (CPO) for celebrating Imran Khan’s release.

On 25 May, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during a visit to the Radio Pakistan building in Peshawar, lamented the way in which the historic structure was burned down during the 9 May protests. He assured me that the wages that have been stopped since April will be provided within 48 hours. He reiterated that no leniency would be shown for the rioters.Punjab police showed up at Parvez Elahi’s residence in Lahore after Lahore High Court dismissed pre-arrest bail in the corruption case.

Other Institutions/ Developments
Islamabad High Court released PTI senator Ejaz Chaudhry as his detention under the Maintenance of Punjab Order (MPO) ordinance was announced as invalid.Whereas IHC dismissed the plea filed by Maleekha Bhokari and Ali Muhammad Khan, pointing out that the jurisdiction of the court does not extend to the case that is within the territory of Rawalpindi. The Lahore anti-terrorism court approved the trial of 16 rioters involved in attacking military installations under Army Act.

On 25 May, In an open letter: “Calling for an immediate end to state violence in pakistan,” by a group of scholars and academics from various universities in the United States expressed their concerns and condemnation regarding recent events in Pakistan,They specifically denounced the state-sanctioned violence, arbitrary arrests of opposition party members, and the curbs on media and freedom of assembly against protesters. “We condemn the state-sanctioned violence, murder and torture of protesters, use of sexual violence against women and men, curbs on media, bans on freedom of assembly and speech, and arbitrary arrests of thousands of political leaders and workers belonging to the main opposition party.” The letter emphasized that while such issues have persisted over the years, the current situation is marked by a heightened scale and intensity.

In Brief
FIA and NAB restrict overseas travel of Imran Khan and PTI leaders
On 25 May, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the police listed Imran Khan, his wife and many PTI leaders under Provisional National Identification List (PNIL) restricting overseas travel. Notable PTI members such as Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Maleeka Bokhari, Qasim Suri, Asad Qaiser, Murad Saeed, Hammad Azhar, Dr Yasmin Rashid and Mian Aslam Iqbal were added to the list, and it was forwarded to all the airports. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “Imran, Bushra among dozens barred from travelling abroad,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

Imran Khan urges SC to release PTI leaders
On 25 May, Imran Khan requested Supreme Court to form a judicial commission to inquire about horrible incidents. He added that beyond suggesting actions against perpetrators, the commission should have the responsibility. Imran Khan  petitioned against the rearrest of PTI leaders under MPO was unconstitutional and void demanding their immediate release. Further, the petition had respondents' names including, Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, MQM convener, and caretaker CM of Punjab. (Nasir Iqbal, “Civilians’ trial by military illegal in peacetime: Imran,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

Qazi Anwar requests to investigate killings of ‘innocent’ PTI protesters
On 25 May, Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) provincial organiser Qazi Mohammad Anwar, filed a petition to issue directives to form Joint Investigation Team (JIT). According to the plea, the JIT should be autonomous, and carry out a forensic investigation of the 9 May violence and bring the perpetrators to justice. He also requested to inquire about the killing of ‘innocent’ PTI protesters. Qazi called the tortures against PTI protesters the worst example of human rights violations in the country. Additionally, Qazi petitioned in High Court to furnish the details of FIRs recorded against PTI members. (“PTI moves PHC for the formation of JIT to probe May 9 violence,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

ACE raids Parvez Elahi’s residence again to arrest
On 25 May, Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) team and the police bust into PTI President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi's house to arrest. Parvez is accused of misusing powers and stealing from development funds. Furthermore, the team requested to raid the PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s residence. Imran Khan responded: “The mindset behind this tyranny is that this will weaken the party. A political party only weakens when it loses its vote bank, as have all the PDM parties. These terror tactics are only increasing sympathy for PTI.” (“Another raid on Parvez Elahi’s house in Lahore after bail cancellation,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

Three PTI leaders vow not to leave the party
On 25 May, PTI leaders Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mian Mahmoodur Rashid and Omar Sarfraz Cheema assured Imran that they would not resign from the party and disappoint him. In response to the media, Yasmin Rashid said: “I cannot even think of leaving PTI or Imran Khan” and Cheema added that he is an ideological worker of the party and hence would never quit the party. On denial of the police request to increase the physical remand of the three, the PTI leaders were to sent to jail. (“3 leaders pledge allegiance to PTI,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

Imran Khan cancels membership of resigned PTI leaders
On 26 May, Dawn reported that Imran Khan revoked the membership of all PTI members who had resigned from the party. Recent defections from the party forced him to remove them from the party's official accounts, he added that the party’s leaders and workers were “facing the full force of state terror.” Imran Khan cited  PDM’s three marches that were allowed without difficulties.Furthermore, he issued a list of removing PTI members, including Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. (Mansoor Malik, “Imran revokes party membership of all defectors,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

Lahore military court ordered the producion of 16 suspected Jinnah House vandals
On 25 May, Dawn reported that the Lahore anti-terrorism court orders the city’s Camp Jail to produce 16 accused of vandalization of Jinnah House (Lahore Corps Commander’s residence). Irfan Akhtar, the commanding officer, provided an application that implied to trial the perpetrators under Official Secrets Act and Pakistan Army Act. Meanwhile, Amnesty International discouraged the act of trying civilians in military courts. Further, the organisation demanded the officials to “immediately reverse” the trial and iterated to try the offenders in the civilian court. (Rana Bilal, “Jinnah House vandalism: Lahore ATC sanctions handing over of 16 suspects to military for trial,”  Dawn, 25 May 2023)

CJP: Capacity building is required for the election commission
On 25 May, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial noted that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) needs capacity building due to its inactive, inert, and non-assertive nature. CJP Umar Ata Bandial noted that the government had approved a grant of PKR 20 billion for MNAs, but the ECP itself is inactive due to the allocation. ECP counsel Sajeel Shaharyar Swati argued that the political temperature has gone higher since 9 May. The incident has had a significant impact on the polity, but no indication for polls is in sight. The caretaker administration has taken the plea that sensitivity in the province has increased and the requirements of the commission will be curtailed further. (Nasir Iqbal, “Election Commission needs capacity building: CJP,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

Detainees of  Mardan contest the invocation of Army Act
On 26 May, Dawn reported that Twenty-eight people arrested on 9 May for protesting outside army bases in Mardan district have petitioned in the Peshawar High Court. They challenged the inclusion of provisions of the Army Act, and the Official Secrets Act. Gul Raj and 27 other petitioners, all Mardan residents, sought the court's orders to remove Section 59 of the Army Act and Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act from the FIR registered by the Mardan City police station. The petitioners argued that a false FIR with "political motives" was registered and that the high court had assumed jurisdiction under Article 199 and argued that a trial for the same act in two different courts had been held against fundamental rights. (“Mardan detainees challenge invocation of army, official secrets laws against them,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

Harnai blast kills two people and injures six more
On 25 May, two people were murdered and six others were injured in twin bombings in Zardalo, Harnai district, while a senior police officer was slain in Sohbatpur, Nasirabad. The injured were rushed to the trauma center at Civil Hospital Quetta, with two of them taken to a local hospital. The condition of two of them is serious. The SHO of Adilpur police station, Mir Muhammad Khosa, initiated an operation in the border area of Sohbatpur and Dera Bugti districts based on information about wanted criminals. A fierce gun battle ensued, lasting for two hours, during which Khosa sustained bullet injuries and was taken to the district hospital, where he tragically died. Deputy Inspector General of Police Nasirabad Region Munir Ahmed Sheikh said: “The operation will continue until late evening in order to apprehend the armed criminals involved in murder, dacoities, highway robberies, and other serious crimes.”(Alijan Mangi, Saleem Shahid, “2 killed, 6 injured in Harnai blasts,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

ECP Lawyer Warns SC that elections may not be possible on 8 October
On 26 May, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial was informed that elections in Punjab may not even take place on 8 Oct, the date scheduled for the polls. The lawyer for the commission maintained that after the 9 May mayhem, the electoral body will have to review the security situation of the country. CJ Bandial remarked that a delay in elections will allow “negative forces” to take control of the country and enable them to “start playing tricks  Imran Khan filed a petition in the top court for conducting elections. He stated that Nawaz Sharif was removed from power by the establishment and now the party’s Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz has found an opportunity. (“Elections Might Not Be Possible On October 8 Even, ECP Lawyer Tells Supreme Court,” Friday Times, 26 May 2023)

Foreign office: Pakistan is not a part of the "China bloc."
On 25 May, Pakistan  denied rumors that it has joined "the China bloc." Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch refuted speculation that Pakistan had joined one bloc or the other. She said: “The National Security Committee had spelled out the factual situation around the events of 9 May. Pakistan remains committed to its constitutional obligations to protect the rights and property of all its citizens. These constitutional guarantees and fundamental freedoms are being underwritten by our judiciary.” Pakistan has appointed Ambassador Asif Ali Khan Durrani as Pakistan's Special Representative on Afghanistan to bridge international partners and represent Pakistan in major international mechanisms on Afghanistan, rejecting claims of secret meetings without taking the Foreign Office on board. (Iftikhar A.Khan, “Pakistan has not joined ‘China bloc’: FO,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

JI believes that the Digital census left 15 million people uncounted
On 25 May, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) claims that 15 million Karachi population remain uncounted in the enumeration process, warning that the "fraud" in the name of the digital census will not be accepted and will approach the judiciary. JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman alleged authorities removed census data to conceal misdeeds. He said: “The authorities had also assured us that they were extending the cut-off date for the census exercise to ensure that each and every person is covered. However, the government failed to keep the promise and, instead compromised with the PPP to protect the latter’s interests.” The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data suggests that 38,000 high-rise buildings in Karachi were not covered during the census. Jamaat-i-Islami has conducted a survey to highlight uncounted blocks, streets, and towns, but to no avail. Hafiz Naeem claims many houses on upper stories have not been enumerated. Despite this, some political parties have bargained the rights of Karachi against positions, ministries, and perks.(“JI insists 15 million citizens remain uncounted in Karachi census,” Dawn, 26 May 2023)

The decline of USD 206 million in foreign exchange reserves
On 25 May, The total liquid foreign exchange reserves held by Pakistan declined by USD 206 million during the last week, reaching USD 9.731 billion as of 19 May 2023 compared to USD 9.937 billion on 12 May 2023. This is a decrease of USD 206 million from the previous week. The SBP's reserves decreased by USD 119 million due to external debt payments, while commercial banks' net foreign exchange reserves decreased by USD 87 million to USD 5.538 billion. (“Forex reserves down $206m,” Business Recorder, 26 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“I want to thank the government for putting my name on the ECL as I have no plans to travel abroad, because I neither have any properties or businesses abroad nor even a bank account outside the country.If and when I do get an opportunity for a holiday, it will be in our northern mountains, my favourite place on earth.”
-Imran Khan

“See what changes this government has brought in people's lives. After the end of Tehreek-e-Insaf government and today's price comparison: 132% increase in the price of flour, rice 88%, chicken 72%, dal masoor 71%, milk 44%, sugar 37%. Such a disaster has not happened in the history of Pakistan. Maybe that's why you don't hear about inflation in the media these days.”
-Asad Umar

“The primary questions for Pakistan’s businesses & economy are: Where depreciation of rupee will stop? 310…and where discount rate will reach +21%….? Will these ever be reversed. What is plan B?  A time has come to be realist, nationalist, non egoist & pro people. Save Pakistan.”
-Syed Shabbar Zaidi

Also read...

Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, The unseen worker,
Dawn, 26 May 2023
“I am not naïve enough to believe that a progressive politics can or will be constructed on the ashes of the PTI, at least partially because the latter can be resurrected by the establishment in a new form to suit its needs. But a progressive, anti-establishment politics of the people focused on ecological, demographic, class, gender and ethnic-national concerns is our most urgent imperative, irrespective of what happens to the PTI or the PDM parties that are contentedly observing the current wave of software updates. The unseen worker is arguably the most important political figure in what is an increasingly grim story. We ignore this worker at our peril.”

Aneesa Agha, A forgotten battle,
Dawn, 26 May 2023
“We do not need signs blaring ‘No women allowed’ if we can achieve the same result by sidestepping these inconvenient realities. The underrepresentation of women in the legal field is not unique to Pakistan but our insistence on ignoring it as a problem definitely is. While other jurisdictions have invested in researching, debating, and implementing gender-inclusive reforms in the legal profession, our bar councils and judiciary seem unperturbed by our position at the bottom of all gender parity tables.”

Dr Pervez Tahir, Financial inclusion or confusion in Sahiwal,
The Express Tribune, 26 May 2023
“Impressions gathered in Sahiwal suggest that short-lived interest-free packages and a bias towards MFBs throw sand in the oil of community based NBFCs. In the process, the most efficient and effective enablers of financial inclusion are left lurching. One cannot emphasise enough that the neglect undermines the ultimate objective of poverty reduction, especially in rural and remote areas of the country.” 

Aftab Ahmed Khanzada, Our failure to bring forth good humans,
The Express Tribune, 26 May 2023
“We have become so shameless that we are not ready to accept the truth. We have banned thinking in the whole country. New thoughts and new ideas cannot enter the country. The whole society has stagnated. We have been destroyed — politically, socially and economically. There is no glimmer of hope anywhere in the country. There is freedom, but only to hold centuries-old thinking. In these circumstances, a person who is blind to reason can only hope for improvement. If the ancient Greeks would have seen our conditions, they would have lost their mental balance.” 

Editorial, Smoke and mirrors,
Dawn, 26 May 2023
“In one respect, however, Mr Khan is spot on. He has rightly questioned the credibility of the Al Qadir Trust case without investigating the other party to the alleged quid pro quo, Mr Riaz. Instead, the government is assiduously avoiding even the mention of the extremely well-connected real estate developer’s name.”



“By creating stability, trust and confidence, good governance fosters an atmosphere favourable to economic growth.”
- An opinion in The Express TribuneTransformative power of good governance


Photo : Dawn

25 May 2023, Thursday I Vol 4, No.103

Day 15 Pakistan’s Political Crisis: PR Daily Updates

Imran Khan willing to quit politics if committee convinces him and Police send names of PTI activists to PNIL to prevent them from leaving the country.

PR Daily Brief |

Femy Francis

This is a new section looking at the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan, starting with the arrest of Imran Khan, subsequent violence on 9 May by PTI cadres targeting the Establishment, relief to Imran by the judiciary, response by the government and the Establishment, and the exodus within the PTI. This section provides a daily brief on the political crisis.

On 24 May, In a massive blow to the PTI leadership, Fawad Chaudhry announced his resignation from the party. Condemning the 9 May violence, he said: “ I have decided to take a break from politics, therefore, I have resigned from party position and parting ways from Imran Khan.”
Another leader - Asad Umar also left the PTI stating the 9 May events and stressing the release of innocent PTI workers. Besides the above two, Muhammad Saleem also quit the PTI, expressing that he has no role to play in politics and that he was unaware of the 9 May violence.
Another PTI leader Usman Khan was reported to have joined PPP. He said: “We are just returning home.”
Imran Khan expressed that the leaders of his party are quitting out of pressure as they are being targeted by state institutions. He said: “Here is only one way out, that they utter the magic words of ‘I am leaving PTI’ … is this a joke?” He expressed that the party supporters are being treated as foreign enemies and prisoners of war with no rights. He further reassured that the oppression will not eliminate the party but increase its popularity. Imran Khan plans to form a committee as expressed that he is ready to talk to anyone in power and find a solution to the chaos.
Response from Government
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, on the 9 May violence stated that the vandalism on the military establishment was a planned and coordinated attack. He said: “I feel that his struggle of a year … all his plans failed and this was his last move against the armed forces.” Additionally, he expressed that the government is discussing banning the PTI party over the riots. PTI challenged the foundation of the state by attacking the defence installations, said Asif.
On 24 May, Lahore police sought a travel ban for 700 PTI leaders from the Federal Investigation Agency. The police want to restrict foreign travel for the listed PTI leaders for one month. The authorities have found 741 PTI leaders as part of the 9 May violence and requested Provisional National Identification List (PNIL) to include the names.
Additionally, Islamabad Police also requested the Interior Minister to issue a travel ban against five PTI members, stating their concerns of the accused might flee the country to avoid arrest and trial.
Other Institutions/ Developments
On 24 May, US Department spokesperson Mathew Miller stated that Pakistan needs to respect the democratic principles and said: “We call for the respect and equal application of democratic principles, freedom of expression around – and rule of law around the world, and of course, in Pakistan, we urge that these principles be respected for all people.”
On 24 May UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk voiced concerns over the usage of military courts for civilian trials as disturbing. He said: “I call on the authorities to ensure prompt, impartial, transparent investigations into deaths and injuries that occurred during the May 9 protests. The only path to a safe, secure, prosperous Pakistan is one that is paved with respect for human rights, democratic processes, and the rule of law, with the meaningful and free participation of all sectors of society.”


In Brief
Imran Khan willing to quit politics if committee convinces him
On 24 May, former Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his willingness to talk with  “anyone who is in power” and proposed setting up a committee to discuss two important issues. Firstly, he wants to understand how his resignation from politics would benefit the country, and secondly, he questions the advantages of holding elections in October. He said: “Give me a hint and I will announce committee in a day.” If the committee is convinced, Khan is prepared to step back from politics. He reiterated his stance that he would quit the politics if the military establishment convinces a proposed committee that his removal from the political scene would benefit the country. He questions the timing of simultaneous elections in October and suggested that it is a delay tactic to suppress his party. (“Another U-Turn: Imran Khan Willing To Talk With ‘Anyone In Power’,” The Friday Times, 25 May 2023; Mansoor Mali, “Imran seeks assurances for talks with powers that be,” Dawn, 25 May 2023)

Phone records implicate Imran Khan and PTI leaders in attack planning
On 25 May, Dawn reported police discovering over 400 phone calls from Imran Khan and other senior party leaders, inciting party workers to attack sensitive public buildings. Geo-fencing records confirm that the planning for the attack on the corps commander's residence took place at Khan's residence in Zaman Park. Analysis of the records revealed that Khan made 154 calls to provoke party leaders and rioters to carry out the attack. Several PTI leaders, including Hammad Azhar, Yasmin Rashid, Mahmoodur Rasheed, Ejaz Chaudhary, Aslam Iqbal, and Murad Ras, were also in contact with the attackers, providing instructions. (Asif Chaudry, “Imran and key aides ‘planned’ May 9 riots, geo-fencing reveals,” Dawn, 25 May 2023)
Defections continue in PTI
On 25 May, Dawn reported further defections following the violence that occurred on 9 May. Fawad Chaudhry, the party's senior vice president, announced his departure from the PTI via a tweet said: “Ref. my earlier statement where I unequivocally condemned 9th May incidents, I have decided to take a break from politics, therefore, I have resigned from party position and parting ways from [sic] Imran Khan,” Asad Umar, a close aide to Imran Khan, resigned from his party office but maintained his membership. Ex-MPA Nadia Sher also quit the PTI, criticizing the party for allegedly attacking military installations. Additionally, former MPA Malik Saleem Akhtar Labar returned his party ticket and parted ways with the PTI in Multan. Qasim Suri's family distanced themselves from the PTI and said: “We have nothing to do with Pakistan Tehreek Insaf and are peaceful and patriotic citizens of Pakistan.” (Ikram Junaidi, “New shake-up brings down PTI chief’s lieutenants,” Dawn, 25 May 2023)

Police send names of PTI activists to PNIL to prevent them from leaving the country
On 25 May, Dawn reported police department in Rawalpindi/Islamabad sending names of 245 PTI activists, including three former members of the provincial assembly, to the federal government to be included in the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL). This list aims to ensure they stay in the country for 30 days. The police have identified these individuals through video clips, CCTV footage, intelligence, and geo-fencing related to the violent protests that occurred on May 9. The police have also requested assistance from Punjab and KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) police to apprehend the wanted individuals. Additionally, the capital police have asked the interior ministry to include the names of PTI leaders in the PNIL and Exit Control List (ECL) who are still evading arrest in connection with cases of violence in May 2022 and 2023. (Mohammad Asghar, “Police seek travel ban on another 245 PTI men,” Dawn, 25 May 2023) 

Parliamentary panel calls for former CJP’s son over leaked audio controversy
On 25 May, Dawn reported that the son of a former chief justice of Pakistan Najam Saqib and another person have been summoned by a parliamentary panel on the sidelines of a leaked audio regarding the allotment of party tickets. The special committee set up by the National Assembly speaker notified the parliament not to share the details of the standing committee with the Supreme Court. However, since the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan is well paved in suo motu cases, the court is seeking information regarding the proceeding of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice. The Chairman of the Committee Aslam Bhootani said: “The committee deliberated upon this matter and unanimously recommen­ded that the will of the house must be respected and the record would not be shared with the SC.” (Malik Asad, “Panel summons ex-CJP’s son over leaked audio,” Dawn, 25 May 2023)
Former Federal Minister Faisal accuses Fiaz of the Al-Qadir Trust scam
On 24 May, Faisal Vawda, former federal minister, accused Leuitant General Faiz Hamid of being a ‘real beneficiary’ of the Al-Qadir Trust scam during his hearing of a corruption case. He mentioned Hamid’s assets and his help in Akbar’s escape. Further, Faisal blamed President Alvi for creating “misunderstandings.” He added: “I had warned Imran Khan before about “snakes” in his party, who would be holding press conferences soon, to condemn May 9 violence.” (Malik Asad, “Ex-spymaster ‘real beneficiary’ of Al-Qadir Trust scam, Vawda alleges,” Dawn, 25 May 2023)

Additional funds approved for community-based SAP
On 25 May, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar sanctioned PKR 4 billion for armed forces and PKR 10.75 billion for national immunisation in the meeting with the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet. The Cabinet also approved additional funds of PKR 20 billion for community-based SAP other than PKR 70 billion. Further, the ECC finalised the summary of payment mechanisms of the Ministry of Energy, Uch Power (Pvt) Ltd. agreements, Novation Agreement and other agreements. PKR 10.746 billion was sanctioned to the Federal Directorate of Immunisation to obtain vaccines for the provinces to prevent further disease infection. (Khaleeq Kiani, “Lawmakers get Rs20bn more despite fiscal crunch,” Dawn, 25 May 2023)
Ishaq Dar dispels default fears, assures Pakistan's financial stability
On 24 May amid concerns of a financial crisis and potential default, Pakistan's Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, reassured the public that the country was not on the verge of a financial collapse and would not default. He highlighted the efforts of his economic team and mentioned a current account surplus in March and April. Regarding the delayed IMF bailout tranche, Dar stated that all technical work and prior actions had been completed, expressing his team's sincere efforts to finalize the IMF program. He also mentioned repayments of commercial loans and expected returns from non-Chinese commercial banks once the IMF agreement is concluded. (“Pakistan ‘will absolutely not default’, asserts Dar,” Dawn, 24 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

"Ref. My earlier statement where I unequivocally condemned 9th May incidents, I have decided to take a break from politics, therefore, I have resigned from party position and parting ways from Imran Khan."
-Ch Fawad Hussain

"The first thing: PTI itself paved the way for the ongoing crackdown on PTI by rioting on May 9 military installations. Another thing: The establishment was on the back foot till some time ago, this opportunity was used well by Khan and Judiciary, they kept celebrating the "defeat" of the establishment, now how about regretting their return?"
-Umar Cheema

"What would be the army establishment’s new political project? After the Project Imran Khan going belly up, the current arrangement will also unravel in due course."
-Mohammad Taqi

Also read...

Sara Malkani, FSC on transgender persons
Dawn, 25 May 2023
“The range of acceptable gender expression changes significantly over time. Is there any item of clothing, or hairstyle or even gait that can be deemed exclusively for ‘men’ or ‘women’? Who will make this determination? For example, are women with short hair and men with long hair expressing a gender identity contrary to their sex? Under the FSC’s reasoning the range of behaviour deemed repugnant to Islam is not only extremely broad but also impossible to identify.”

F.S.Aijazuddin, And now what?
Dawn, 25 May 2023
“The next general election already has a familiar mal-odour about it. Many recall the 1977 elections when prime minister Z.A. Bhutto was determined to have a landslide victory. He did, but the land slid from under him. Assume in the next elections, the PTI fulfils its leader’s expectations and delivers a victory. With more than a two-thirds majority? That will enable him to make changes to a Constitution he has no use for anyway. A simple majority? He will still have to work with corrupt adversaries. Less than a majority? He might be tempted to imitate Bhutto in 1970 and reject the result’s consequences.”

Adeel Wahid, The rule book
Dawn, 25 May 2023
"To make the application of rules in a society fair, one provision or standard does much more work than others: the equal treatment or protection of law clause. If anyone is given any treatment deemed special, then everyone, similarly placed, is entitled to that special treatment. Sitting in power, with the largesse of the state at one’s disposal, if one bestows special treatment on oneself and one’s accomplices, then everyone is entitled to the same treatment. Or no one is. If the vision of the law is such that it is to be used as an instrument against one’s opponents, and as a facilitative mechanism for oneself and one’s friends, then finding fault with the law is not enough: what is to be mourned is the absence of morality.”

Muhammed Ali Fatak, Why perception matters
The Express Tribune, 25 May 2023
“The colliding institutions must read the writing on the wall before it is too late. Child education, food security, measures to combat climate change are essential for a hopeful future for the country. The masses and the international community should see us working towards a decent future. We must shun the perception of always in crisis and at institutional battles. Only smart statesmanship can keep our sinking ship afloat. Sense should prevail.”

Imran Jan, Incentivising enmity toward Pakistan
The Express Tribune, 25 May 2023
“The man who killed innocent Pakistani citizens in broad daylight (Raymond Davis) went free and the man who was shot multiple times trying to create a brave nation (Imran Khan) is facing over 150 cases against him. The man who tried to harm the Pakistan Army by sending a memo to Admiral Mike Mullen asking him to subjugate the Pakistan Army and to withhold providing aid to Pakistan (Hussain Haqqani) is a friend of the current regime while the man (Imran Khan) who stood on the world stage at the UN and defended his religion and his country’s armed forces’ sacrifices in the war on terror was removed from the office, shot multiple times, slapped with cases after cases, jailed and released and possibly to be jailed again. The journalists who always supported the armed forces and helped create a soft image are either dead or abducted and incommunicado. The journalist — who stood in front of cameras in broad daylight and insulted the top establishment figures, revealed scoops from their personal lives, and told everyone about how they were “afraid of India and wanted friendship with Israel” — is thriving and enjoying a luxurious lifestyle.”

Abbas Moosvi, Reclaiming the realm of politics
The Express Tribune, 25 May 2023
“Mainstream parties in Pakistan, just like around the globe, operate on trivial differences in narrative structure (such as corruption, dynastic royalty, glories of an imagined past) that ensure that the real power centres i.e. security apparatus, big landlords, rent-seeking industrialists, corporate bigwigs, international financial institutions, etc remain isolated from criticism.”



“The overstaffed federal government must be shrunk by two-thirds.”
-An opinion in Dawn, Proposals on austerity



Photo : Dawn

24 May 2023, Wednesday I Vol 4, No.102

Day 14 Pakistan’s Political Crisis 2023: PR Daily Updates

Imran Khan’s sister accused of land fraud and misuse of authority and Imran Khan questions NAB's credibility and blames Malik Riaz for the Al-Qadir Trust case

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Femy Francis

This is a new section looking at the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan, starting with the arrest of Imran Khan, subsequent violence on 9 May by PTI cadres targeting the Establishment, relief to Imran by the judiciary, response by the government and the Establishment, and the exodus within the PTI. This section provides a daily brief on the political crisis.

On 23 May, Shireen Mazari resigned from the PTI after being rearrested by the Punjab Police. She said: “I strongly condemn the May 9 violence. I have always condemned the violence of any kind,” she added ““I condemn violence against state symbols like the GHQ, parliament and the Supreme Court.”
Abdul Razzaq Kahn Niazi resigned from the PTI stating his support for the army. He said: “We never came into politics with the support of any party. Just work for the public and they will vote for you.” Mian Jalil Sharaqpuri announced his resignation blaming Imran Khan for the 9 May violence he said: “I cannot at all work with Imran Khan or the PTI.” Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, a former provincial minister, quit the PTI after accusing Imran Khan of training his party worker to “move towards military installations.”
Imran Khan condemned the re-arrest of party leaders and the custodial torture endured by them. He iterated his conviction and will: “resist till my last breath.” He accused the government for using police to crush the PTI party and leadership and that it was a gross violation of the constitution.
On 23 May, Musraat Chemma was re-arrested upon his released as he accused the government of being “fascist” and said: “These practices must be stopped immediately; court’s decisions must be respected now.” Additionally, Jamshed Cheema was also reasserted by the Punjab police.
Omar Ayub alleged that the Islamabad police raided his home without any prior warrant issued, where they threatened the staff and his son. PTI also claimed that the police raided the house of party leader Ali Nawaz. PTI leader Hammad Azhar denied involvement of PTI in the 9 May riots stating that the party never planned or instigated the incident.
On 23 May, Imran Khan appeared at the Rawalpindi office of the National Accountability Bureau to be investigated on the Al Qadir Trust Case. The PTI also petitioned against the proposed military trial for the accused 9 May protestors stating that it is a violent and arbitrary crackdown against the party.
Other responses/developments
On 23 May, Amnesty International issued concerns about the disappearance of  Imran Riaz Khan, a prominent journalist and PTI supporter. Riaz has been missing since 11 May where he was arrested at the Sialkot airport. Lahore Court demanded that he is produced at court, despite of it there is no knowledge of his whereabouts.
Amnesty International, also issued statements against the trial of the accused 9 May protestors under the Amy Act or special counter-terrorism court. Amnesty issued a statement saying: “Those arrested in connection with the recent protests must have their fair trial rights respected, including the presumption of innocence, and independence and impartiality of the tribunal. "On 23 May, Additionally, Lahore High Court refuted PTI’s plea to be granted with blanket cover for the 132 protestors and set aside the detention of Shireen Mazari.

In Brief

Imran Khan’s sister accused of land fraud and misuse of authority
On 24 May, the Friday Times reported that Imran Khan's sister, Uzma Khan, and her husband, Ahad Majeed Khan, are accused of acquiring land in Layyah through fraud and forgery. They allegedly purchased 657.62 acres by paying just PKR 130 million at different rates of land for a minimal amount, despite its estimated value being around PKR 6 billion. The couple is said to have used their influence to take illegal possession of the land from poor farmers and even mistreated government officials who resisted their demands. The Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment has initiated an investigation into the matter, and Uzma and Ahad are expected to be summoned for questioning. (Hassan Naqvi, “Imran Khan’s Sister, Brother-in-Law Under Investigation For Fraudulently Acquiring Prime Land,” The Friday Times, 24 May 2023)
Imran Khan questions NAB's credibility and blames Malik Riaz for the Al-Qadir Trust case
On 23 May, Imran Khan, questioned the credibility of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Al-Qadir Trust case. During his appearance before the NAB, Imran Khan criticized its failure to take action against Malik Riaz, the owner of Bahria Town. He shifted responsibility to his former accountability aide, Shahzad Akbar, for making a secret deal with Riaz. He denied any knowledge of the settlement between the UK's National Crime Agency and Riaz, stating that he relied on Akbar's briefing. The NAB deemed Khan's response unsatisfactory and directed him to provide further records. The accountability judge issued pre-arrest interim bail to Imran Khan till 31 May. (Malik Asad, “Imran questions NAB action sans probe into Bahria owner,” Dawn, 24 May 2023)
Supreme Court questions ECP's review petition
On 23 May, the Supreme Court questioned the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) review petition regarding the Punjab Assembly elections date. The Chief Justice of Pakistan observed that the ECP had not raised the points earlier when the decision was made. The ECP's counsel argued that the SC's review jurisdiction should not be restricted, emphasizing the court's power to review its earlier decisions. The PTI, through its counsel, contended that the ECP's fresh stance contradicted its earlier position and should be dismissed. The court postponed further proceedings. The debate revolved around the SC's authority to fix the election date and the principle of separation of powers. (Nair Iqbal, “CJP ‘pleased’ to see change in ECP, govt stance,” Dawn, 24 May 2023)
Punjab government expedites legal proceedings against rioters and arsonists
On 23 May, the Punjab government accelerated legal proceedings against individuals involved in riots and arson following the arrest of Imran Khan. The police have identified 746 PTI leaders and activists through surveillance footage and other sources. Their names have been sent to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), requesting travel restrictions by placing them on the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL). The suspects are wanted in multiple cases registered under anti-terrorism and other charges. The government aims for fast-track arrests and trials of those responsible for the attacks on military installations and other properties. Measures such as the Exit Control List (ECL) and Passport Control List (PCL) are being considered to prevent them from fleeing the country. (Asif Chaudry, “Travel ban sought on 746 PTI leadersDawn, 24 May 2023)
The National Assembly criticizes Imran Khan for the 9 May protests
On 23 May, Gwadar Aslam Bhootani and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MNA from Salahuddin accused Imran Khan of receiving support from current and retired individuals within state institutions. He said: “Had the May 9 incidents taken place in Balochistan or Sindh, thousands of the people would have become victims of the bullets manufactured by POF [Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Wah].” (Amir Wasim, “MNAs slam PTI chief’s ‘preferential treatment’ by state institutions,” Dawn, 24 May 2023)
PTI faces challenges as leaders leave
On 23 May, Imran Khan, the chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, expressed concern over key leaders leaving the party, stating that they were being forced to do so at gunpoint. However, he remained unfazed, comparing the party's decline to the erosion of the ruling coalition, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and its diminishing voter base. Imran appeared before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for bail in multiple cases, including terrorism charges related to violence outside the Judicial Complex. His lawyer argued for security reasons and mentioned pending cases at the Islamabad High Court. The court extended Imran's bail until June 8 and summoned the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) officers, questioning their absence. (“Imran says members being forced to leave PTI at 'gunpoint',” The Express Tribune, 23 May 2023)
SC registrar refuses to appear for PAC’s inquiry again
On 23 May, the Supreme Court registrar did not appear before the parliamentary panel even after the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) multiple warnings. Previously, PAC issued notice to the registrar to reply to inquiries on the refusal of the Auditor General to access financial records. Instead, the SC registrar has sent the deputy registrar and replied in a letter: “The registrar of this court in his capacity as the principal accounting officer is not obliged to appear before the Public Accounts Committee as decided by the full court in its meeting dated January 20, 2010.” PAC called the reply “arrogant” and “violation of the Constitution.” Further, PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan told CJP that if this continues, then it would set an example for others to deny and cooperate with PAC. (Jamal Shahid, “Lawmakers see red as SC registrar refuses to appear before PAC,” Dawn, 24 May 2023)
Justice Akhtar urges to conduct elections within 90 days
On 23 May, Dawn reported that SC Justice Munib Akhtar emphasised holding elections within 90 days. The Justice highlighted that Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa people’s rights were connected to elections. In the hearing of ECP’s petition, Sajeel Swati, the lawyer, informed that the federal and Punjab governments had submitted their responses for the case and said that the PTI did not submit them. Further, the judges questioned the nature of cases related to elections and the ambiguity of the jurisdiction of the SC. Justice Akhtar asked Swati: “According to you, if there is an appeal from the High Court, the jurisdiction is limited. But in the review petition, your position is that the scope is not limited. Is this not discrimination in the case of fundamental rights?” The hearing has been postponed to 24 May. Meanwhile, PTI replied to ECP’s petition that it is unjust and questioned the ECP’s role. (Haseeb Bhatti, “Rights of millions of people linked to elections, says SC’s Justice Akhtar,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)
Thirteen new flood protection projects approved
On 23 May, Central Development Working Party (CDWP) finalised thirteen projects with a PKR 22.6 billion as an estimation and turned down two projects that were previously approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec). The projects were planned in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir. CDWP also suggested Ecnec ratify the National Flood protection plan which will provide 166 flood protection schemes, 457 telemetry stations and five centres for regional forecasting. The project aims to provide relief, reduce and further prevent the impacts caused due to floods. Additionally, it directs to provide job opportunities and increases the values of agriculture and urban land. (Khaleeq Kiani, “CDWP clears Rs195bn flood project aimed at protecting millions,” Dawn, 24 May 2023)
Alternative plan to curb further economic crisis
On 21 May, Power Minister Dastgir said that an alternative plan would be announced before the budget session, on the Dawn News show. Due to the growing economic crisis, Pakistan is struggling to finish the ninth review using additional foreign funding. Despite this, the IMF urged Islamabad still to get more funds. Meanwhile, When Dastgir was questioned on alternative strategy, he condemned violent acts of PTI followers which he called “fascist assault.” Further, he said: “Imran’s supporters are deliberately spreading uncertainty and anarchy in the country to damage Pakistan’s economy.” Dastgir assured that the PM and finance minister will declare an alternative plan to deal with both crises. (Adil Shahzeb, “Govt to announce ‘alternative plan’ for economic woes before budget: Khurram Dastgir,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)
Shehbaz Sharif urged to increase the PSDP budget
On 23 May, Shehbaz Sharif ordered the increase of budget allocated for the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the financial year 2023. He ordered the officials to take steps to reduce the financial issues of poor and middle-class people. Further, Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal determined that the PSDP amount should be increased because of the economic crisis. Meanwhile, the IMF report stated that Pakistan’s PSDP had become “unaffordable” and also mentioned the accumulation of incomplete projects. Meanwhile, the government suggested the budget deficit to be around 7.4 per cent of the GDP for the upcoming fiscal year. Further, the PM office said that the country is shifting to financial stability with a decrease in the fiscal deficit. (Shahbaz Rana, “Shehbaz sees Rs700b PSDP insufficient,” The Express Tribune, 24 May 2023)
Six people were killed in a terrorist attack on KP
On 23 May, The Friday Times reported that there was an attack on a gas factory in Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Following the terrorist attacks on North Waziristan’s government schools, those terrorists attacked the factory with massive ammunition where four personnel of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) and two private security guards were killed. (“Terrorist Attack: Six Including Four FC Personnel Embrace Maryrdom In Hangu,” The Friday Times, 23 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter


“The release from prison is due to written political repentance. The whole nation condemns the incident of May 9 and has no sympathy for the accused, but it is necessary to respect the cloak and the wall and respect for women. I think the level playing field has been reached.”
-Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

“All those saying PTI leaders are not leaving the party on their own and they are being forced, can they please explain why PPP and PMLN ppl never resigned or left their leaders alone in such situations? They’ve all been through the same, infact worst.”
-Rabia Anum Obaid

“US $ has touched Rs 310. 10 kilo flour bag Rs 2200. Common man is economically crushed.I warned  it on  December 16, 2021 when PTI was in power.This has nothing to with who is in power.There is no time to left for economy.The economy of 250 million is in gradual decay. Save!”
-Syed Shabbar Zaidi

Also read...

Shahzad Sharjeel, Faithful idols
Dawn, 24 May 2023
“The wrangling over the legal system to bring the culprits to book, and any selective justice across the uniformed and the civilian lot will only erode whatever little remains of national institutions. Reprieves under local compulsions or foreign pressure will only confirm the state’s discrimination among citizens; the children of the lesser components of the federation will feel further alienated. How come May 9 is already referred to as a ‘black day’ but the days when Liaquat Ali and Benazir Bhutto were assassinated, or the APS massacre occurred are not? Many monuments were dismantled throughout the former USSR after communism’s retr­eat was marked by the pulling down of the Berlin Wall.”

Mahir Ali, Fascism’s backers
Dawn, 24 May 2023
“With all its hypocritical gibberish about ‘values’, the West sees nothing wrong with India’s trajectory, and its blinkered leaders will trot along to hug Modi when the G20 beckons in September. If India’s drift towards fascism is to be halted, the resistance will have to come from within. The Indian trend is similar to what has been seen elsewhere — not least Pakistan, but also the US, Brazil, Hungary and Israel — of political leaders acquiring a cult following among populations disillusioned by the centrist business-as-usual. That’s understandable but the consequences can be atrocious. One can only hope that the majority of Indians will see the light before it’s too late. The election result in Karnataka was somewhat encouraging, but there’s a long way to go.”

Zahid Hussain, Khan’s moment of truth
Dawn, 24 May 2023
“Khan tried to demolish the entire edifice thus weakening the democratic process and consequently strengthening the establishment. In his arrogance, he failed to understand that he could only return to power through a democratic process. He may have succeeded in mobilising mass support largely because of his false narrative of regime change and the disenchantment of the public with the PDM government’s flawed policies. But he failed to build a strong political structure on a solid programme. He took on, simultaneously, rival political forces and the establishment, which has cost him dearly. And as he took on the establishment he also looked to it for support. Populism has its limitations, which Khan has never understood.”

Taloot Masood, Turning the country around
The Express Tribune, 24 May 2023
“In these circumstances, turning the country around will be a herculean task and challenge the capacity of any government. The country cannot be left in this state of despair and uncertainty. There is no alternative better than having national and provincial elections soonest possible to stabilise the situation. It will provide credibility to the government and revive the system that has been held in abeyance since the ouster of the PTI government for a year. Any delay in elections will only strengthen non-democratic impulses and will be a great disservice to the country and its people.”

Prof Dr. Tipu Sultan, Food fortification ecosystem
The Express Tribune, 24 May 2023
“With an increased focus on health and wellbeing and its direct impact on a country’s economic growth, governments and global health authorities are also now advocating and recognising the potential of food fortification as both an economical and a powerful way to fight malnutrition at a larger scale. It has become inevitable for the industry practitioners, moving forward, to achieve effective and responsible fortification practices and policies and address the most prevailing nutrient deficiencies such as Iron, on swift grounds and pledge our commitment to SGDs 2030, 2 — Zero Hunger by 2025.”

Daud Khan, Sanakhawan Hussain, Can agriculture be a leading sector?
The Express Tribune, 24 May 2023
“Public money saved from cutting back on the above expenditures should be redirected.Among high priority actions are technology generation for products with high potential which have received little or no attention such as fruits, vegetables and livestock; development projects aimed primarily at creating services and facilities for small scale farmers and the rural poor; and for improving the regulatory framework in areas such as control of animal diseases which cripple our exports, or in the area of food safety.”



“The maverick leader is facing the most serious test of his chequered political career.”
-An opinion in Dawn, Khan’s moment of truth

Photo : Dawn

23 May 2023, Tuesday I Vol 4, No.101

The PTI has petitioned to the Supreme Court to halt impending military trials

Shehbaz Sharif: “No Pakistani can burn down Jinnah House”

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief 
NAB approves Bushra Bibi's bail
On 23 May, The accountability court granted bail to Bushra Bibi against surety bonds worth PKR 500,000 in the EUR 190 million settlement case. Judge Muhammad Bashir approved the pre-arrest bail plea of Imran Khan's wife until 31 May and took the signatures of the former first lady regarding the bonds. Imran Khan is facing charges of corruption of billions of rupees in a case involving a property tycoon. The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) seized assets worth EUR 190 million Pounds from the property tycoon in Britain as part of a settlement between the PTI government and the property tycoon. Imran Khan and his wife obtained land worth billions of rupees from a property tycoon in exchange for legal cover from the UK crime agency. (Arfaferoz Zake, Asif Bashir, Court approves Bushra Bibi's bail in £190 million settlement case,” The News International, 23 May 2023)

Shehbaz Sharif: “No Pakistani can burn down Jinnah House”
On 22 May, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated that the idea of attacking the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters or burning Jinnah House is beyond the reach of any Pakistani citizen. PM Shehbaz Sharif vowed to punish those who rioted at Jinnah House, Radio Pakistan, and GHQ. He also praised the armed forces and law enforcement agencies for their efforts to eliminate terrorism, gave sacrifices, and promised to provide resources for the promotion of sports in the country. He said: “The nation was proud of its players and athletes, who had not only earned fame in the country but also brought awards from abroad.”(“No Pakistani can burn Jinnah House: Shehbaz Sharif,” The Express Tribune, 22 May 2023)

Shehbaz Sharif vows no leniency towards 9 May arsonists
On 22 May, The National Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the 9 May incidents and calling for the prosecution of "arsonists" under the country's existing laws. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declared no leniency would be shown toward those involved in the attacks on military installations. MNA Ali Wazir opposed the government's decision to hold the trial of civilians under the Army Act, fearing that only the innocent and poor PTI workers would suffer, while those with connections to the army generals and other influential would come out clean. PM Shehbaz Sharif said, “We don’t have any personal vendetta. But those who desecrated the martyrs, Ghazis, and their monuments, and burnt the Jinnah House … they will have to be tried under the law. And if any leniency is shown to them, the country will not survive.”(Amir Wasim, “No leniency towards May 9 arsonists, vows PM,” Dawn,23 May 2023)

Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan grants Imran Khan bail
On 23 May, Imran Khan was granted bail in eight cases related to violence at the Judicial Complex. An accountability court has granted bail to Imran Khan's wife Bushra Bibi in the Al Qadir Trust case until 31 May. In the hearing, Imran's counsel requested the court to allow him to present arguments on the same day, but the prosecutor expressed dissatisfaction and requested the court to order Imran to participate in the investigation. The ATC summoned the JIT to appear and the court extended bail until 8 June. Imran Khan accused NAB of playing an "instrumental role" in his abduction and requested a copy of the inquiry report. Last week, the IHC extended its order to prevent Imran's arrest in cases filed against him until 31 May. (Umer Burney, “Islamabad ATC grants Imran bail in 8 cases related to Judicial Complex violence,” Dawn,23 May 2023)

Imran Khan advises his supporters to be calm if he is arrested
On 23 May, Imran Khan advised his supporters to remain peaceful if he is arrested in the Al Qadir Trust corruption case Mr. Imran Khan during a session on Twitter Spaces said: “I urge people to remain peaceful because if you get violent, they will get a chance for a crackdown  again. We have to always protest peacefully,” and he also stated that the team made for negotiations, but the leaders were put behind bars, preventing dialogue from taking place.Imran Khan argued that the PDM government's crackdown against the PTI and unlawful detention of PTI leaders, workers, and supporters. He also accused the government of violating the Supreme Court's order to hold polls in the Punjab Assembly out of fear of losing elections. (Mansoor Malik, “Imran advises supporters to stay calm if he is arrested,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

Wajahat Hussain former PTI member returns to PML-Q
On 22 May, Wajahat Hussain decided to return to the PML-Q party after previously supporting the PTI. He met with PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, expressing hope for forgiveness and unity within the family. Wajahat condemned the recent riots and emphasized the importance of respectful politics. He denied rumors linking him, said: “I believe the country needs decent politics that should serve as a unifying force.”Shafay Hussain revealed plans for seat adjustments with the PML-N and urged Parvez Elahi to bridge the family divide. Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, in a video message, reaffirmed his support for Imran Khan and his narrative. (Mansoor Malik, “Parvez Elahi’s confidant quits in latest blow to PTI,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

The PTI has petitioned to the Supreme Court to halt impending military trials
On 22 May, The PTI filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, challenging the federal government's decision to prosecute civilians, crack down on supporters for unrest, and call the military under Article 245 of the Constitution. It argued that the government's decision to try civilians in military courts and the crackdown on the party and its supporters was illegal and unlawful. It also challenged the deployment of the armed forces in aid of civil powers in Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan. The government's decision to deploy the army was aimed at depriving citizens of access to their constitutional right to life, dignity, association, equality, and protection of property. Article 245 was not rightly exercised by the cabinet, and the crackdown against the political party was arbitrary, disproportionate, and unreasonable. (Nasir Iqbal, “PTI moves top court against proposed military trials,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

ECP postpones intra-party polls case after several deadlines
On 23 May, Dawn reported that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) postponed the intra-party polls case against the ruling PML-N. The PML-N intra-party polls were to happen on 22 March 2022, but the party did not respond to the deadlines of ECP. Further ECP provided a ‘last chance’ to hold elections within two months in Jan 2023. PML-N counsel Ahsan Jahangir told the commission that the polls did not take place due to more engagements of PM Shehbaz and also requested the commission not withdraw the party symbol. CEC Raja commented on Jahangir's statement that a person who was so busy that he could not hold intra-party elections should not be the party president. Meanwhile, three separate ECP benches will hear seven cases against PTI and Imran Khan. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “ECP puts intra-party polls case against PML-N in cold storage,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

PBS releases data on the declining textile sector
On 22 May, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) presented data on the decline of Pakistan’s textile and clothing industry, which increases concerns about the export sector and its impact on Islamabad’s economy. The industry experienced a decline of 14.22 per cent year-on-year to USD 13.7 billion in the current fiscal year. The sector faces multiple challenges due to a drop in exports, such as late refunds, raw materials scarcity and a decline in demand worldwide which also impacts foreign exchange reserves. Further, PBS data gave information on exports of readymade garments, knitwear, bedwear, towel and yarn of cotton and other than cotton. (Mubarak Zeb Khan, “Textile exports drop to $13.7bn,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

Banks avoid extending loans to the private sector
On 23 May, Dawn reported that due to political and economic crises, banks do not want to extend loans further to the private sector. Meanwhile, banks are willing to provide loans to the PDM government as it is relatively low-risk and highly profitable. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) issued data, the net bank advances to the private sector declined to PKR 129.6 billion in the current FY23. Further, Islamic banks lending to the private sector declined by approximately PKR 98.6 billion from PKR 196.5 billion (last year) in the current fiscal year. Additionally, the SBP has reported that GDP growth could be less than the estimated two per cent in the recent semi-annual report. (Shahid Iqbal, “Bank lending to private sector plunges,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

PBS issued data on declining petroleum imports
On 22 May, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said that there was a decline in petroleum imports by 17.96 per cent in FY23. As there was an increase in fuel prices, the consumption was reduced eventually. According to the data, the overall import value of the petroleum group declined by USD 13.97 billion from USD 17.03 billion last year. Similarly, the PBS provided information on declining imports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). (“Petroleum imports slip 18pc,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

Shehbaz Sharif  comments on the absence of China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey at the G20 meet
On 22 May, The Friday Times reported Shehbaz Sharif commented on the absence of China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the G20 meeting conducted at Srinagar (Indian-Administered Kashmir). He alleged that Beijing chose to support Pakistan. China, Egypt and Indonesia opted not to attend the G20 tourism meeting in Srinagar, whereas the private delegations will represent Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the meeting. (“PM Shehbaz Claims Credit For China, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye Boycotting G20 Moot In India,” The Friday Times, 22 May 2023)

Two government schools were attacked in North Waziristan
On 21 May, North Waziristan police officials reported that there was a militant attack on two government schools for girls in Noor Jannat and Yunus Kot, where there were no casualties. The District Police Officer assured that the perpetrators will be punished. Previously, there were other series of killings of school teachers by militant groups. Meanwhile, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that “sanitisation” activity was being carried out to eliminate any terrorists found in the area. (“Two girls’ schools blown up in North Waziristan,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

PBS resumes census in leftover areas
On 23 May, Dawn reported that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) will start the census process in snowfall-impacted and security-concerned areas. Dr Naeemuz Zafar, the Chief Census Commissioner, said that POK and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments were asked to suggest suitable times for field census operations in snowed-in areas. Further, the census for the remaining areas should be completed as per the decision of the Census Monitoring Committee (CMC). After synchronizing the remaining data, the tablets will be recovered from the field staff at Census Support Centre (CSC) on 24 May. Further, the armed forces-restricted regions and collective residences will be included in the census. The demographers’ committee will ratify the recommendations for CMC considerations after the census data analyses.  (Mubarak Zeb Khan, “PBS to carry out census in areas hit by law and order, snowfall,” Dawn, 23 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“Pakistan’s Army Chief continues to trample over democratic red lines. Now he has decided to try civilians in a military court that he will constitute. The name for this is military dictatorship, and it’s brazenly unconstitutional.”
-Zalmay Khalilzad

“There is no government, no times, no issues, no conditions. There is mourning in the country. Punish the real conspiracists of May 9. Release the innocents. This government has failed to run the country. Growth has become negative. And there is a Friday market for sellers.”
-Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

“Where in the political discourse is reform of bureaucracy, separation of powers, judicial restraint, electoral reform, party reform, local government, city government and jurisdiction, Non political PSDP and other issues.  Should we discuss these and more.”
-Nadeem Haque

Also read...

Arifa Noor, A day long gone,
Dawn, 23 May 2023
“It was heart-wrenching to hear the account of how they [the women] were thrashed on their thighs, scratched and bitten on their faces while attempts were allegedly also made by booted law enforcers to attack their private parts, they were made to clean the toilets and offered urine when they asked for drinking water. They were let off a little before midnight when community leaders came to their rescue."

Adrian A. Hussain, Double image
Dawn, 23 May 2023
“The fact is that the state has taken enough of buffeting for the moment and cannot afford much more. Thought must now be given not just to propping up the economy but also to the fragile state structure. If the IMF demands transparency in the ‘system’ we should, at last, allow for it. The Pakistan idea, as opposed to and distinct from, existing polarities and ill-conceived impulses to power, should, properly, matter more than any merely alphabetical democracy.”

Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s moment of peril
Dawn, 23 May 2023
“Ideally, a political ceasefire and minimum consensus are needed between rival parties and leaders on an agreed path to elections and rules for its conduct. But the failure of talks between the government and opposition has put paid to such an outcome. The widening crackdown against the opposition has now made any resumption of dialogue impossible.”

Dr.Moonis Ahmar, When crisis is mismanaged…
The Express Tribune, 23 May 2023
“The only way out of the prevailing crisis is to immediately hold free and fair elections under a strict neutral caretaker setup. One should learn lessons from the mismanagement of the 1971 East Pakistan crisis and the 1977 crisis after the general elections of March.”

Haroon Rashid Siddiqi,Pakistan’s judiciary: a new era
The Express Tribune, 23 May 2023
“Imran Khan’s naive and whimsical decision to submit mass resignations of his party’s parliamentarians has emboldened the truncated National Assembly. All assembly members are venting their frustration and anger, passing absurd laws after having the anti-corruption body’s yoke removed from their necks and relishing in acquittals from clear-cut corruption cases. They have become so defiant against the Chief Justice that it may serve their political purpose if he takes action to end their rule.’



"The security blanket and ceaseless raids on the homes of civilians is hardly evidence of all being hunky-dory for the abused..."
-An opinion in Dawn, 'Spectacles of abusive states'


Photo : Dawn

22 May 2023, Monday I Vol 4, No.100

Government to prosecute protesters under anti-terrorism and Army Act

Imran Khan alleges army-backed crackdown against PTI

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
Government to prosecute protesters under anti-terrorism and Army Act
On 21 May, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a meeting declared that the government will prosecute protesters who attacked the public infrastructure under anti-terrorism laws, while those who vandalized military property will be tried under Army Act. This decision came after criticism from national and international groups. He referred to the attacks as an anti-state act and compared the protesters to the terrorist outfits like Tahreek-i- Taliban Pakistan.  Legal proceedings will probe those involved in planning, instigation, sloganeering, and vandalism. The Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister briefed the Prime Minister on the steps taken against the culprits. Additionally, the Prime Minister expressed his desire to turn the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute(PKLI) into a world-class health facility but criticized Imran Khan and the former Chief Justice for causing damage to the institution. Defense Minister Khawaja Asif stated that existing military courts would handle the prosecution of the rioters, and the PML-N party expressed frustration at the delay in legal action against the perpetrators. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Army Act only for those who attacked military property: PM,” Dawn, 22 May 2023) 

Imran Khan alleges army-backed crackdown against PTI
On 21 May, Imran Khan alleged that the PDM wanted to keep him out of power. He said: "The government is working on plans to bring me and the PTI into conflict with the army.” He claimed that over 10,000 workers had been arrested and his party's senior leadership was in jail and also made clear that there is an 80 per cent chance of him getting arrested on 23 May. The former PM emphasized the need for a robust defense system in Pakistan but denied having any conflict with the army. Imran Khan expressed his fear and said: “My worry now is that they won’t hold the national elections even in October. I fear they will hold the elections when it is clear that PTI will not win.”. He criticized the disregard for judicial decisions and the ongoing crackdown on his party. The PTI and JUI-P demanded a stop to the alleged illegal crackdown, the release of party members, an independent investigation into the 9 May incidents, and the removal of caretaker governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They condemned the victimization of media houses and journalists and criticized Imran Khan's "abduction" by Rangers from the Islamabad High Court. (Mansoor Malik, “Imran sees ‘80 per cent chances’ of his arrest tomorrow,” Dawn, 22 May 2023)

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and PML-Q Chief discuss political situation and joint candidates
On 21 May, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif of PML-N visited PML-Q Chief Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain to discuss the political situation in Pakistan. They talked about joint candidates for upcoming elections in Gujarat and other parts of Punjab. They also discussed administrative matters in Gujrat and sought PML-N's support for potential candidates. Chaudhary Shujaat urged the prime minister to address the culprits of the May 9 riots while seeking the release of innocent people mistakenly arrested. The PML-Q aims for seat adjustments with PML-N in several Punjab constituencies. (Waseem Ashraf Butt, “PM calls on Shujaat in Lahore: PML-N, Q may go for seat adjustment in next election,” Dawn, 22 May 2023)

PML-N Chief  Maryam Nawaz  endorses military courts for trial of 9 May arsonists
On 20 May, PML-N chief Maryam Nawaz expressed her support for trying the individuals responsible for the 9 May attacks in military courts. She questioned the objection of Imran Khan to the military court. She said: “Why are they objecting to military courts.... see the civilian courts are giving bails and stays to the PTI leaders. How come we trust them (civilian courts). These courts’ orders have become a joke,” Meanwhile, PTI chief Imran Khan stated that the law allowing trials of civilians under military control expired in 2019, and only the Corps Commander House in Lahore was attacked. He warned against pitting PTI against the army. (Zulqurnain Tahir, “Showing distrust of judiciary, Maryam backs military courts.” Dawn, 22 May 2023)

No new military courts for 9 May suspects, trials to be held in existing courts says Defence Minister
On 22 May The Express Tribune reported that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif clarified that no new military courts were being established to try individuals suspected of involvement in the 9 May violence. He stated that the trials would be conducted in the existing military courts and assured that the accused would not be deprived of their fundamental rights. The proposal to conduct trials in military courts has faced criticism from local and international rights organizations. The defence minister emphasized the importance of unity and condemned the attacks on military installations. (“No ‘new’ military courts to try May 9 suspects: Asif,” The Express Tribune, 22 May 2023)

Two senior PTI leaders resign from PTI
On 21 May, Two senior PTI leaders Usman Tarakai and Aftab Hussain Siddiqui, announced their resignation from the party in response to the 9 May violence. Siddiqui stated that he wanted to serve the country as a businessman, therefore he distanced himself from politics. Usman said that he cannot continue with the party and also condemned the act. Previously, many other PTI leaders left the party to which Imran Khan responded by stating: My sympathies go to all those who under pressure have been made to leave the party. And I commend and salute all the senior members who are resisting the extreme pressure to quit the party." Meanwhile, the National Security Committee (NSC) announced May 9 as ‘Black Day’. (“In major blow, two more senior leaders quit PTI,” The Express Tribune, 21 May 2023)

PM Shehbaz Sharif says perpetrators won’t be spared
On 21 May, PM Shehbaz Sharif said that those involved in violent acts against the armed forces would not be exempted in a Lahore meeting on law and order. He said: “The 9th of May was the darkest day in the history of Pakistan when a political party of the country committed anti-state acts of the sort that even the enemy couldn’t think of.” Sharif spoke about previous militant attacks and compared TTP strikes with PTI’s violent acts. Further, he added that cases of civilian attacks will be dealt with by the Anti-Terrorism Act and those of military installations under relevant laws. Shehbaz attended a meeting with PML-Q Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his sons, where both agreed to work for the country's development. Meanwhile, the PM was upset about the attack on Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) as he wanted it to become an identity for Pakistan. (Rameez Khan, “Shehbaz likens PTI to outlawed TTP,” The Express Tribune, 21 May 2023)

Imran Khan concerned about the arrest of his leaders and workers
On 21 May, PTI Chief Imran Khan said that he might be arrested on 23 May. He was upset at the detention of his leaders and 10,000 workers and stated that everything was done to destroy democracy. Further, regarding his assassination attempt, Khan said: “I predicted that a religious fanatic will be sued to kill me like our governor was killed. My life is still in danger.” He alleged that the present government was worried about the PTI winning the elections and their focus was to “crush” his party.(“More than 10,000 workers arrested, claims Imran,” Business Recorder, 22 May 2023)

Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023 approved to protect individual data privacy
On 22 May, Business Recorder reported that the Ministry of Information, Technology and Telecommunication approved the “Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023.” This Bill proposes a fine which may extend to USD 2 million or an equivalent amount in PKR for those who process or cause to be processed, disseminate or disclose personal data in violation of any of the provisions of the proposed legislation. A Commission called the National Commission for Personal Data Protection (NCPDP) of Pakistan will be formed within six months of the release of the official notification. This provides an environment of fair practices in the digital economy by offering legal protections in online transactions and sharing personal and sensitive information or data for personal, international e-commerce and e-government services. Further, the grounds for processing personal data, personal data breaches, and payment of fines for the committed offense were mentioned in the draft. (Tahir Amin, “Personal data protection bill finalised,” Business Recorder, 22 May 2023)

Bilawal Bhutto opposes G20 meet in Srinagar
On 21 May, Foreign Minister expressed strong opposition against the G20 meeting at Srinagar. He alleged that India cannot suppress the people’s voice in Kashmir. He assured that he would be a part of the protest rally in Bagh on 23 May, possessing strong support to people in Kashmir. He has also discussed this with the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir PM  and urged him to address the POK assembly. (Tariq Naqash, “Kashmiris can’t be silenced with G20 event: Bilawal,” Dawn, 22 May 2023; “Bilawal arrives in AJK to protest India’s violation of international laws,” Business Recorder, 22 May 2023)

Protesters from PTI gather outside the White House
On 21 May, Hundreds of PTI supporters gathered outside the White House as former PM Imran Khan warned that elections may not be held in October. Johnny Bashir, a local PTI leader, expressed the party's increased popularity among the Pakistani-American community since Imran Khan’s arrest in an interview with Fareed Zakaria, Mr. Imran Khan stated that there’s no rule of law in Pakistan and that over 10,000 PTI workers had been arrested. At the White House, “Pakistan  Zindahbad” and “Imran Khan Zindahbad” were the most dominant slogans. Imran Khan also complained that police had surrounded his home in Lahore, searching for every visitor. (Anwar Iqbal, “Hundreds of PTI supporters protest outside White House,” Dawn, 22 May 2023)

Ishaq Dar seeks to facilitate export-oriented sectors
On 22 May, Business Recorder reported that the Finance Minister of Pakistan Ishaq Dar, directed commercial banks to facilitate export-oriented sectors to open LCs for raw material, machinery, spare parts, and other items without any reference to the State Bank of Pakistan. He met with the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to discuss the country's economic and financial prospects and to reaffirm the government's commitment to steer the economy toward prosperity. ATMA proposed a dedicated power plant exclusively for the textile sector, with sufficient gas allocation and a wheeling open access charge. The Finance Minister committed to providing maximum support to the textile industry and directed authorities to address and resolve issues on a priority basis to boost export-led growth. (Mushtaq Ghumman, “Letters of credit: Banks asked to facilitate: Export-oriented sectors find favor with Dar,” Business Recorder,22 May 2023)

ECC authorizes PKR 1.146 billion for trade missions
On 22 May, Business Recorder reported that The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet authorized PKR 1.146 billion in technical supplemental grants (TSG) for trade missions overseas due to a gap in the budgeted budget caused by currency depreciation. There are 55 trade missions abroad exploring new markets for exports and reaching out to the international market for commercial presence for exporters and potential industries. The Ministry of Commerce has been allocated a budget of PKR 2,331 million for the fiscal year 2022-23. However, due to the depreciation of the rupee, the average exchange rate has remained PKR 247 per dollar, depreciating the allocated budget amounting to USD 5.131 million. To continue operations of trade missions abroad, PKR 1.266 million will be required during the current financial year. The Ministry of Finance has agreed to grant PKR 1146.284 million as TSG owing to the prevailing financial crunch in the country. (Zaheer Abbasi, “ECC approves Rs1.146bn through TSG for trade missions,” Business Recorder, 22 May 2023)

Two soldiers and three terrorists were killed during KP operation
On 21 May, Two soldiers and three terrorists were killed during an intelligence-based operation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Tank district, according to the army's media wing. ISPR reported that two terrorists, 39-year-old Naik Muhammad Atiq from Chakwal and 36-year-old Naik Rajab Ali from Attock, were actively involved in terrorist activities against security forces and innocent citizens. Pakistan has seen an uptick in terror activities since the TTP ended its ceasefire, with 293 people martyred and 521 injured in 436 terrorist incidents over the past year. 137 security personnel were martyred and 117 injured in anti-terror operations. (“2 soldiers martyred, 3 terrorists killed in Tank IBO: ISPR,” Dawn,22 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“The so-called "US conspiracy" narrative has collapsed. Those who accused the US of overthrowing the government by waving a letter are now begging the American members of Congress. Imran Khan created a narrative of American conspiracy for a year now asking the members of Congress to raise their voice in his favor.”:
-Senator Sherry Rehman

“It doesn't take long for the hunter to become the hunted. This has become evident in the aftermath of the shocking violence unleashed by leaders & supporters of @PTIofficial & the whataboutery of its top leadership including @ImranKhanPTI”
-Fahd Husain

“We have always maintained that movements should never seek support from the US. US govt seeks to undermine sovereignty of weaker nations to ruthlessly pursue its geostrategic interests in the region. Internationalism means solidarity with social movements, not with foreign govts.”
-Ammar Ali Jan

Also read...

Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s moment of peril,
Dawn, 22 May 2023
“The widening crackdown against the opposition has now made any resumption of dialogue impossible. Even so, the only way out of the present political quagmire is for the government to put the country’s interests before its own and fix a date for elections, to enable people to decide who should govern them. In the absence of this, the country’s very future will be at stake.”

Dr Shuja Ahmed Mahesar, Climate chaos,
Dawn, 22 May 2023
“Environmental degradation, caused by projects such as Left Bank Outfall Drain and Thar coal project, has been overlooked. Policy­makers must learn lessons from past rehabilitation strategies and the government should reduce the existing trust deficit by providing compensation to the displaced and the labour class. All stakeholders must participate in a dialogue at the policy formulation level. Growers and native communities must be consulted and convinced for the policy to be workable.”

Syed Mohammad Hasan, IK’s arrest: days of future past
The Express Tribune, 22 May 2023
“No country can survive for long under a constitutional, political and economic crisis. Atop this, Pakistan is witnessing the worst of all: an institutional crisis in which deep divisions are created between and within them. The very pillars of a democratic state, that are supposed to work like a well-oiled machine, are now pitted against each other — and at this point everyone’s hands are soiled. Moving forward, all stakeholders need to engage in thoughtful introspection if they don’t want to find themselves on the wrong side of history.”

Kamran Yousaf, Gen Bajwa’s India ‘peace’ plan,
The Express Tribune, 22 May 2023
“Indian policy is at the heart of the civil-military imbalance in Pakistan. If there was peace with India, the balance of power naturally would shift from GHQ to Islamabad. Friendly or less hostile ties with India mean that Pakistan may no longer need heavy defence spending, freeing up necessary resources for economic development. Bajwa’s approach towards India was realistic and pragmatic. Perhaps, we may not have another army chief in the foreseeable future who would be willing to go that far. Clearly, Imran has missed a great opportunity!”

M Zeb Khan, The scary scenes
The Express Tribune, 22 May 2023
“What the government has done so effectively so far is to get rid of accountability mechanisms and do away with rule of law. Who would have imagined that the champions of democracy would treat the Constitution as a piece of paper and the Supreme Court with so much disdain! Instead of serving the common man, who can no longer afford healthcare, education, and even food for family, the government has virtually made the country a banana republic.”



"The security blanket and ceaseless raids on the homes of civilians is hardly evidence of all being hunky-dory for the abused..."
-An opinion in Dawn, 'Spectacles of abusive states'


Photo : Dawn

20 May 2023, Saturday I Vol 4, No.99

Sindh government demands early local government elections

Government pursues official complaint against judge in attack on ISI office

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Sindh government demands early local government elections
On 19 May, the Sindh government held protests demanding that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) set an earlier date for the next phase of local government (LG) elections. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said: “The delay in making the elected bodies functional and that too by none other than the ECP itself is contrary to the objectives of the constitution and the law and is causing despondency among people.” They highlighted that elections had already taken place in some areas of Sindh but were delayed in others due to heavy rains. However, the elections for reserved seats and positions like mayors and chairmen had not yet occurred, rendering the LG system ineffective. The party demanded that the ECP urgently address the matter so elected representatives could begin their duties. The protesters urged higher authorities to address the issue and ensure the immediate completion of the oath-taking ceremony for LG representatives. (“PPP holds protests across Sindh for early completion of LG process,” Dawn, 20 May 2023)
Government pursues official complaint against judge in attack on ISI office
On 19 May, an official complaint was issued against a judge for giving "unconstitutional facilitation" to the named suspects of the attackers of the ISI office in Faisalabad. Participants emphasised the need for a rigorous follow-up of the prosecution process and pointed out that aiding these suspects amounted to the murder of justice. According to the report, 628 calls between the suspects and prominent party leaders in Lahore were tracked. References are forwarded to the Supreme Judicial Council against sitting judges. Although the council has received complaints against Supreme Court justices, no formal hearings have yet to take place. A five-person special house committee will be formed by the National Assembly on Monday to "prepare and forward." (Zulqernain Tahir, “Reference against judge for ‘facilitating arsonists’ on cards,” Dawn, 20 May 2023)
Lahore High Court allows PTI lawmakers' return to National Assembly
On 19 May, the Lahore High Court (LHC) overturned the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and National Assembly (NA) speaker's acceptance of the resignation of 72 PTI lawmakers from Punjab. This ruling pave the way for their return to the assembly. The decision was made in response to petitions filed by PTI leaders Shafqat Mahmood and Riaz Ahmad Fatyana. Imran Khan stated that party members would return to the assembly to address human rights violations but he himself would not go, as he believes the house has lost political and legislative relevance. The court instructed the lawmakers to personally withdraw their resignations before the speaker and directed the speaker to decide the matter after hearing each member individually. (Wajih Ahmed Sheik, “LHC ‘paves way’ for PTI members’ return to NA,” Dawn, 20 May 2023)
Punjab government plans arrest at Imran Khan's residence amidst search operation disagreement
On 20 May, Dawn reported that the Punjab government planned to arrest alleged arsonists hiding at PTI Chairman Imran Khan's residence in Zaman Park. A government team visited the house to discuss search operations but failed to reach an agreement with Imran Khan, who insisted that the search should follow the guidelines set by the Lahore High Court. As no consensus was reached, the Punjab government stated that it would devise its own approach to the search. Earlier in the day, the Punjab government formed ten joint investigation teams (JITs) to probe cases related to the 9 May violence in Lahore. Imran Khan asserted that PTI workers could not be tried in military courts, as the law related to military courts lapsed in 2019 and no military installations were attacked. He demanded an independent inquiry into the attack on the Corps Commander House and insisted that any search of his residence should adhere to the guidelines set by the Lahore High Court. Six more suspects were arrested in connection with the 9 May violence. The police also increased vigilance around Imran Khan's residence in Banigala, Islamabad. (Ahmad Fraz Khan, Asif Chaudry, “No ‘consensus on SOPs’ for Imran’s house search,” Dawn, 20 May 2023)
The Cabinet supports military court trial
On 19 May, The National Security Committee (NSC)'s recommendations decided that the demonstrators who stormed and vandalized military sites on May 9 would be prosecuted under the Army Act and the Official Secrets Act, which received federal cabinet approval. The federal cabinet has approved the trial of civilians in military courts, following the NSC and Corps Commanders' Conference's pledge to bring those behind violent protests to justice. Special standing courts are already working under military action and can work throughout the year. The federal cabinet ratified the NSC decisions and PM Shehbaz Sharif visited the Pak-Iran border, importing 100 megawatts of cheap electricity and inaugurating the "Mand-Pishin Border Market".(Rizwan Shezad,” Cabinet backs military court trials,” The Express Tribune, 20 May 2023)
Punjab police unsure of the whereabouts of journalist Imran Riaz
On 19 May, Inspector General of Punjab Police (IGP) Dr. Usman Anwar struggled to react to a barrage of inquiries surrounding the issue of "missing" anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan and was unable to satisfy Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti of the Lahore High Court. The IGP dismissed the notion that the anchorperson had been kidnapped and suggested the anchorperson may have deliberately hidden. Dr. Usman Anwar provided an update on the police's actions and plans for the future, but Chief Justice Bhatti remarked that the people were helpless. Most of the video clips provided by the police were deemed insignificant, except for one showing Imran Riaz Khan getting into a vehicle. Chief Justice Bhatti granted the IGP additional time until May 20 at 10 am, based on the IGP's assurance that every possible effort would be made to locate the missing anchorperson. (Rana Yasif,”Punjab police clueless about journalist Imran Riaz's whereabouts,” The Express Tribune, 19 May 2023)
On the 23rd, NAB summons Imran in connection with an EU 190 million scandal
On 20 May, The Express Tribune reported on National Accountability Bureau (NAB) summoning Imran Khan on 23 May at its Rawalpindi headquarters against a scandal involving PKR 190 million in the Al-Qadir Trust case. Imran Khan skipped the NAB summons in connection with the EU 190 million scandals, claiming the law was in conflict with the Constitution. On 9 May, he was arrested by Ranger’s personnel, triggering protests. On 11 May, the Supreme Court declared his arrest illegal and ordered his release. The Islamabad High Court granted interim bail to PTI chairman Imran Khan for two weeks in the Al-Qadir Trust case. NAB launched an investigation against Imran, his wife Bushra Bibi, and others for the alleged gain of hundreds of canals of land in the name of Al-Qadir University Trust. Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) seized assets worth £190 million from a property tycoon in Britain and passed them to the Pakistani government. (“NAB summons Imran in ‘£190m scandal' on 23rd,” The Express Tribune, 20 May 2023)
PTI Chief replies to NAB’s other allegation
On 19 May, A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team called on PTI Chief and Bushra Bibi to file their statements in Al-Qadir Trust Probe on 23 May 2023. Previously, despite allegations, Imran and his wife did not show up. However, Imran replied to the notice that all the allegations made by NAB in the call-up notice are absolutely false, frivolous and concocted, and based on a deliberate misconception of law and facts, and baseless conjectures and surmises. (“NAB serves fresh notices on Imran, Bushra,” Dawn, 20 May 2023)
PM on the benefits of lower oil prices for the citizens
On 19 May, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the authorities concerned to ensure that the impact of a reduction in prices of petroleum products is shifted to people in the form of decreased transport fares and rates of eatables. He said, “Prices of eatables and transport fares should be reduced in proportion to the 11 per cent decrease in the petroleum prices announced by the government”. He urged the government to reduce commodity prices and take action against profiteers and hoarders in Lahore and Karachi. Pakistan and Iran have agreed to enhance cooperation in various sectors, including security along the 900km border, countering cross-border terrorism, importing low-cost electricity from Iran, and completing the much-delayed 100MW Gabd-Polan power transmission line. The Mand-Pishin border marketplace is expected to create employment opportunities for people on both sides of the border, while a high-level delegation from the UAE will visit Iran for further deliberations on these projects. (Syed Irfan Raza, “PM orders passing on benefit of oil price cut to masses,” Dawn, 20 May 2023)
Ishaq Dar avoids decreasing taxes and offering subsidies
On 18 May, The Express Tribune reported that the federal government must pay a subsidy to K-Electric, a private company that supplies power to Karachi, or the electricity supply to Karachi could be shut down. The federal government provided a subsidy of PKR 10 to PKR 20 per unit to K-Electric to maintain the tariff differential. The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) had to pay Rs20 billion as markup to K-Electric, which has now swelled to PKR 150 billion. A committee headed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is trying to sort out the issue and hopes to resolve it by the end of June. The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) had to pay PKR 16 billion to the independent power producers (IPPs) due to the lack of payment. (Shahbaz Raza, “Power supply to Karachi may be cut off,” The Express Tribune, 18 May 2023)
Finance Ministry holds in-person meetings to discuss budget and tariffs
On 19 May, the first in-person meeting was held between Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and representatives from the exporters and the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). Dar stated a budget favourable to businesses but refrained from committing to tax reductions or providing subsidies for electricity and gas. Meanwhile, the finance ministry mentioned about advantage gained by export industries due to the Pakistani rupee declination. Additionally, Exporters urged the government to create an industrial tariff that is cost-based and free of subsidies. Further, Dar emphasised on providing government facilities to the textile sector and encouraging Pakistan’s export-led economy. After extensive discussions on various sectors, the Finance Ministry guaranteed the FPCCI delegate to incorporate the suggestions in the forthcoming budget. (Shahbaz Rana, Dar steers away from cutting taxes, providing subsidiesThe Express Tribune, 19 May 2023)
Suicide attack in Balochistan calls for immediate action
On 19 May, Sirajul Haq escaped a “suicide attack” targeting his convoy in Balochistan’s Zhob. Further, he said about casualties and the death of a “suicide attacker”. He added that Assistant Commissioner has been appointed for Sirajul’s safety. Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz “strongly” opposed the suicide attack and ordered the Balochistan government to conduct an in-depth inquiry and produce criminals to justice. Balochistan CM, Imran Khan and many others lamented over the incident. (“Sirajul Haq escapes suicide attack on convoy in Balochistan’s Zhob, 6 others injured: police,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)
The fourth session of BPC to strengthen Bilateral relations
On 19 May, the Islamabad Foreign Office reported on the fourth session of Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) between Pakistan and Ireland. Both governments discussed all aspects of bilateral relations. Ambassador Muhammad Saleem, the additional foreign secretary (Europe) emphasised Pakistan’s dedication in expanding and extending relations with Dublin. Further, he added that the establishment of Ireland's embassy in Islamabad will be a crucial turning point in the diplomatic relations. They recognised shared interests and committed to continuing collaboration at international forums. Additionally, Dublin will host the next round in 2024. (APP, “Pakistan, Ireland to boost ties,” The Express Tribune, 20 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“The constitution, law and the decisions of the judiciary are being disrespected. They are not only arrested inside the court, but when bail is granted, the police of other provinces arrest them. The judges are saying that our decisions are being insulted.”
-Sheikh Rashid Ahmed
“Ever since the shameful, tragic and tragic events of May 9, I have been thinking about their negative impact and implications. The more I think about this dark day, the more I feel outraged that we have become enemies of the ideology of Pakistan itself. After dividing the people, Imran Niazi indulged in trying to humiliate the state institutions. When all his efforts to get the government failed, he attacked the state of Pakistan with his hate speech and agitations. He probably had no idea that the ideology of Pakistan was far more credible and powerful than his impure and selfish ambitions. God willing, he will definitely face failure.”
-Shehbaz Sharif
“What does Imran Khan gain by claiming that the current crackdown is unique in history? Why not claim the inheritance of past democratic struggles for which hundreds of people sacrificed their lives? Is it simply ignorance or a misplaced desire to remain unparalleled in history?”
-Amar Ali Jan

Also read...

Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Contempt of parliament,
Dawn, 20 May 2023
“Apparently, the need for a law on the contempt of parliament in Pakistan was felt in the backdrop of the ongoing confrontation between parliament and the Supreme Court…..The contempt of parliament law is apparently an effort by parliament to engineer a tit-for-tat move. It, however, remains to be seen how far the proposed law will help parliament and the parliamentarians safeguard their privileges.”

Riaz Riazuddin, Our endemic inflation,
Dawn, 20 May 2023
“It seems that high inflation will be here for an exceptionally long spell, even if we see some reduction in the coming months due to base effects. The way to break the spell of high inflation lies in reducing political tensions, holding free and fair elections, and moving towards a credible macroeconomic adjustment programme with the IMF’s help. Otherwise, the risk of hyper-inflation and default will escalate.”

Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Civil war?,
Dawn, 20 May 2023
“The political leadership should also agree on a new social compact and rules of conduct, giving significance to the following: the military establishment has announced its intent to remain apolitical, and it must not be dragged into politics; the decisions of the Supreme Court should be respected by all; the Election Commission must not be made controversial; and social media must not be used with impunity to malign every state institution.”

Editorial, Gloomy days,
Dawn, 20 May 2023
“According to IMF estimates, Pakistan will be required to make debt repayments or seek rollovers of nearly $75bn over the next three years…..That is not going to happen overnight or without implementing key structural reforms to stabilise the economy. So Islamabad is left with only one option: take fresh loans and seek rollovers of existing foreign debt to stay afloat and avoid a formal default. That will not happen until the IMF programme is revived. The alternative — debt restructuring — doesn’t sound pleasant in the current environment. In either case, we will have to first deal with the elephant in the room: political instability.”
Dr Syed Akhtar Ali Shah, Access to justice and independence of judiciary,
The Express Tribune, 20 May 2023
“The questions arise: can a constitutional order survive such a blatant disregard of its provisions pertaining to fundamental rights and independence of judiciary? What is the scope of legislative power of such a government regarding independence of judiciary? Judicial review of government acts is an essential feature of democratic governance. Thus the Supreme Court is the ultimate authority to interpret, to review an order, and to ensure protection of fundamental rights.”



"From time to time, the 'honorable' justices fail to tread softly."
- An opinion in The Express Tribune, 'Suo motu — are we done yet?'

Photo : Dawn

19 May 2023, Friday I Vol 4, No.98

SCBA opposes military court trials, calls for judicial strengthening and civil liberties protection

Imran condemns attacks on army commanders house; Seeks probe and Mass arrests expected following protests in Pakistan.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Peshawar HC to hear 150 petitions filed by PTI leaders
On 18 May, the High court scheduled 30 May 2023 to hear 150 petitions filed by local PTI leaders and workers challenging the orders for their detention under the Maintenance of Public Ordinance. Earlier, several detained PTI leaders and local workers filed petitions for bail. Yet, the court has to decide on the maintainability of petitions to which Provincial Advocate General Amir Javed, contended to reject them. Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Sahibzada Asadullah of Peshawar High Court stated that the prisoners (petitioners) should be freed if they’re not required in any other cases and that each of them should produce two surety bonds each of PKR 2,00,000 for their release. (High court suspends detention of 150 Tehreek-i-Insaf members under MPODawn, 19 May 2023)

Imran condemns attacks on army commanders house; Seeks probe
On 19 May, Dawn reported Imran Khan condemning the attack on the Corps Commander House in Lahore on 9 May. He said: “I have always talked about peaceful protests within the law and the Constitution.”  He accused the PDM coalition of wanting to eliminate PTI from mainstream politics by turning the military towards it. He urged for a thorough investigation into the 9 May violence and added that he can foretell that any fair investigation will reveal that the attacks were part of a planned conspiracy.” (“Everyone is condemning attack on army installations, says Imran; seeks probe,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Zalmay Khalilzad concerned over Pakistan's multiple crises
On 19 May, Dawn interviewed Former US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad. He spoke on how Pakistan’s domestic di­­sputes forced him to share his views. He was worried about the triple crisis in Pakistan;  economic, political and security. Further, he pointed out how the change in the balance of power leads to war. He specified the causes of the situation and how they impacted the economy. However, the US diplomat supported Imran Khan and said: “I admire Imran Khan for his tenacity and for his commitment to his country, and I believe that the manner in which he is being treated is extra-judicial, dangerous and unfair.” Additionally, he suggested a politically neutral establishment, rule of law, democracy, and elections to overcome the crisis. (Anwar Iqbal, “Instability in Pakistan can destabilise entire region, warns Khalilzad,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Six PTI leaders quit over May 9 violence
On 19 May, Dawn reported three additional PTI leaders , Malik Amin Aslam, Dr Muhammad Amjad and Dr Imran Ali Shah quitting the political party, raising the number to six in the backdrop of the May 9 violence. Malik Amin Aslam and Dr Muhammad Amjad said in a press conference that it became impossible to remain in the party. They added that the party was becoming “a reason for the country’s destruction and hatred against institutions”. Dr Amjad said that Mr Khan was being misled by a few people into making wrong decisions. Mr Aslam expressed shock as to why the PTI targeted only military and state installations. (“3 more leaders part ways with PTI over May 9 violence,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Punjab government provides proof of PTI involvement in protests
On 18 May, the interim Punjab Government submitted the “proofs” of PTI involvement in “terrorist attacks” at military sites to the Election Commissioner of Punjab (ECP). A meeting was organised to discuss violent protests on 9 May 2023. The caretaker CM Mohsin Naqvi said: “An obnoxious game was played under the guise of politics.” The officials reported on casualties and the number of violent attacks. Despite this, Sikandar Sultan Raja, Chief Election Commissioner, recognised the bold move of the Punjab government during protests and assured all possible assistance to hold free and fair elections. Further, he also reviewed security provisions for upcoming general elections. (“Punjab hands evidence of ‘PTI’s terrorism’ to ECP,” The Express Tribune, 18 May 2023)

SCBA opposes military court trials, calls for judicial strengthening and civil liberties protection
On 18 May, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) voiced concerns over the government's decision to try the 9 May suspects in military courts, questioning transparency and the protection of civil liberties. They emphasize the need to strengthen the judiciary's capacity to handle terrorism-related cases and ensure due process and fundamental rights for all individuals. The SCBA condemns the violent events of 9 May  and advocates for a peaceful society where differences are resolved through dialogue. Additionally, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has called for a nationwide strike to protest the G20 meeting in Srinagar.(Nasir Iqbal,“SCBA condemns riots, seeks ‘impartial’ inquiry,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Mass arrests expected following protests in Pakistan
On 19 May, Dawn reported that around 3,000 arrests are expected in relation to recent protests, with raids being carried out to apprehend those named in First Information Reports (FIRs). Protesters have been charged under different sections of the law or under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order. The leadership, including former members of national and provincial assemblies, remains in hiding and communicates using VPN or Wi-Fi. FIRs have been registered against 29 former PTI members for murder, attempted murder, and terrorism. In Malakand, 20 individuals have been arrested for burning the Swat Motorway toll plaza. (“Over 1,720 held in police swoop across KP,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Declining foreign inflows pose challenges for Pakistan's reserves
On 19 May, Dawn reported that Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves are in a precarious position due to a significant decline in foreign inflows. In the first 10 months of this fiscal year, Pakistan received $8.1 billion in foreign assistance, which is just 35.5% of the full-year target. Commercial banks were reluctant to provide loans, and international bonds were unsuccessful. The Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and IMF were the major lenders. The decline in inflows and failure to meet budget targets indicate challenges for Pakistan's reserves. (Khaleeq Kiani, “Govt gets a paltry $8.1bn in financing,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Reserves at State Bank drop by USD 72 million
On 18 May, The central bank announced that the State Bank of Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves were reduced by USD 72 million to USD 4.31 billion due to external debt repayments during the week ending on 12 May. Miftah Ismail and Ashfaq Hassan Khan have stated that the government is not aware of the extent of the economic crisis. The IMF is not ready to extend loans and the country needs another package of loans from them to avoid default in the next fiscal year. The US dollar has slightly appreciated PKR 285.62 in the interbank market against the rupee. (“State Bank reserves decline by $72m,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Foreign office Spokesperson rejects “International Religious Freedom Report”
On 18 May, foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch rejected assertions made on Pakistan by International Religious Freedom Report Pakistan. She said: “Such ill-informed reporting exercises about internal affairs of sovereign states are pointless, irresponsible, and counterproductive.” She responded by saying that Pakistan has established a strong foundation for legal policy and affirmative actions to preserve and develop the rights and freedom of all people. She expressed her distress and said: “We hope to work with international partners to counter these pernicious forms of religious intolerance, discrimination and Islamophobia.” She condemned the loss of  33 Palestinians' lives and called on Israel to uphold the cease-fire agreement. She also praised the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Affairs' warning against India's plans to host the G-20 Tourism Working Group conference in Srinagar. Pakistan expressed worry over India's persecution of minorities in Manipur and reiterated its commitment to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. She also voiced worry about how minorities are treated in India and hoped that the country will do more to safeguard them. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “Pakistan rejects US report on religious freedom,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Iran would give Gwadar 100 MW of power each day, according to PM Shehbaz Sharif
On 18 May, Iranian Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declared that Iran will provide 100 megawatts of electricity daily to Balochistan's Gwadar, As soon as the Polan-Gabd power transmission line project is operational. He said:'' Pakistan and Iran were brotherly countries bound by deep-rooted religious, cultural, and linguistic ties, Both our governments are collaborating closely for the betterment and socio-economic uplift of our peoples.” Premier IRNA stressed the importance of cooperation with Iran, particularly in energy projects and border markets.PM Shehbaz Sharif and President Raisi agreed to accelerate work on FTA between the two countries and finalize it at the earliest. PM Shehbaz wanted to increase trade activities with the government of Iran to facilitate the people of both countries. (“Iran to supply 100MW electricity daily to Gwadar: PM Shehbaz,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Sindh accused the Centre of undercounting the population
On 18 May, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah accused the federal government of undercounting the population of Sindh province and warned that if the provincial government does not address its concerns, it will have to reject the recent census. He said: “The actual population of Sindh is 64.4 million while the federal government has projected it to be 57.6 million which shows that 6.8 million people have not been enumerated. This is not a small difference,”.He warned that the federal government must rectify its shortcomings to the satisfaction of the provincial governments or risk rejecting the census. He also highlighted the shortcomings of the 2017 census, citing Punjab's population of 109,989, 655 with 17,107,953 listed households and Sindh's population of 57,665,774. (State Bank reserves decline by $72m,” The Express Tribune, 19 May 2023)

Bajaur teachers are protesting the lack of payment for their salaries
On 18 May, The All Bajaur Double Shift Teachers Association organized a demonstration outside the Civil Colony, Khar, outside the offices of the district administration, local education, and other government departments. The protesters held placards inscribed with different slogans and criticized the provincial government, education, and finance departments for not taking tenable steps in releasing their salaries. They also flayed the senior officials of the local education department for not playing their role in the issuance of their salaries due for the last eight months. The protesters warned to hold a massive protest demonstration if their issue was not addressed by the end of May. The local education department assured them of resolving their issue in the next few weeks. (“Bajaur teachers protest salaries non-payment,” Dawn, 19 May 2023)

Blast on Peshawar's Ring Road leaves 1 dead and 3 wounded, according to police
On 18 May,  one person was killed and three others were wounded in a blast at a motorcycle workshop in Peshawar. The Peshawar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Harood Rashid confirmed the injuries and fatalities in an explosion in the jurisdiction of the Peshatakara police station. He said 200 grams of explosives were used in the blast and further investigation is underway. In recent months, Pakistan has been hit by a wave of terrorism, mostly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, since the outlawed TTP ended its ceasefire with the government in November. (Zahid Imdad, “1 dead, 3 injured in blast at Peshawar’s Ring Road: police,” Dawn, 18 May 2023)


Pakistan on Twitter

“I was concerned for #Pakistan before, but a recent speech by the Army Chief has led me to believe that things are truly dire. His closed-door angry tirade to senior officers in Sialkot has been reliably shared with me.”
-Zalmay Khalilzad

“The mindset behind this unprecedented crackdown and current reign of terror that PTI and its supporters are being subjected to (that was not even witnessed during Zia and Musharraf martial laws) is that we Pakistanis are like a herd of sheep who can be terrorised enough to meekly bow down to this naked show of power.."
-Imran Khan

“The politics of 13 parties is a corona disease. The village will be sold in Jodhbau and will be called Bakaumal and will go to the dustbin. Rising sun worship will not be fulfilled.”
-Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

Also read...

Zubeida Mustafa, In a moral panic,
Dawn, 19 May 2023
“It is equally important that all provisions in the Act for the protection of the transgender persons’ rights are actually implemented. Hardly any hospital or prison has wards or cells for transpersons. No shelter homes have been set up for them as required by the law. They are discriminated against in education, healthcare, public places and also in hiring. They are the most marginalised community in Pakistan and the most vulnerable to sexual violence and indignities of the worst kind.” 

Arif Azad, Just imagine it,
Dawn, 19 May 2023
“The wiser course would be to catalyse thinking and mobilise support for new ideas at the grassroots level. As Marx famously said “The philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it.” Such a change can only be the result of patient work with all sections of society. Dedicated grassroots outreach to trade unions, bar associations and doctors’ and students’ unions can bolster the reimagining project. The local group, in turn, can stimulate new ways of nudging and strengthening the existing parties that have matured over the years despite their deficiencies and the constrained and controlled space they have been operating in.”

Zafar Mirza, Champion of people’s health
Dawn, 19 May 2023
“Zafrullah Chowdhury will be remembered for his revolutionary work on essential medicines. In 1982, as an adviser to the then president of Bangladesh, he introduced the famous National Drug Policy based on the essential medicines concept. In one go, 1,600 non-essential medicines were delisted and a list of only 150 essential medicines was adopted for the country. Big pharma was extremely upset and threatened to pull out from Bangladesh. In view of this situation, Zafrullah quickly set up an Essential Medicines Company which started manufacturing essential medicines. Later, he wrote a book reminiscing about these dramatic events. The book titled The Politics of Essential Drugs — The Making of a Successful Health Strategy: Lessons from Bangladesh is a must-read.”

Sahibzada Riaz Noor, Balochistan: strong-arm handling of political issues,
The Express Tribune, 19 May 2023
“Violence erupted. Armed tribesmen took to the hills. Pipelines and installations were attacked; army/FC camps were fired upon. Rockets were fired on the helicopter carrying Gen Pervez Musharraf on a visit to Kohlu. Musharraf made his famous statement: “We will strike you so hard that you will not know what has hit you.” The fifth Baloch insurrection had started.”

Syed Mohammad Ali, Strategic instability in the Subcontinent
The Express Tribune, 19 May 2023
“The growing economic stress and political chaos in the country is making it difficult for Pakistan to maintain its existing bilateral ties with both China and the US. Being able to balance and enhance both these key relationships simultaneously has become an even bigger challenge. Moreover, instead of trying to convince the US to avert supporting India in ways which compound Pakistan’s sense of insecurity, senior Pakistani decision-makers have been requesting Washington to address the disequilibrium being created in the subcontinent by increasing military support to Pakistan as well. Such a strategy may be good news for America’s military-industrial complex, but it will do little to make the Indian subcontinent a less dangerous and a more harmonious place.”



"The army must also consider that minus all else, with no solution emerging from the political stakeholders, it may yet again fall to it to do the yeoman’s work to reset the broken system."
-An opinion in The Express TribunePakistan’s depleting options,

Photo : Dawn

18 May 2023, Thursday I Vol 4, No.97

Imran Khan warned: Surrender any 'terrorists' or prepare to take action

TLP Chief Saad Hussain Rizvi declares 'Save Pakistan' March

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Imran Khan warned: Surrender any 'terrorists' or prepare to take action
On 18 May Dawn reported that Police surrounded the PTI chairman at Zaman Park after the Punjab caretaker government asked him to hand over terrorists allegedly holed up at his house or face police action. Amir Mir at a press conference said: “We have received an intelligence report that some 30 to 40 terrorists who were involved in attacking the military installations, especially Lahore Corps Commander House on May 9, are hiding at the residence of Imran Khan. We give an ultimatum of 24 hours to the PTI to hand them over to police or face stern action,". Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act are used to charge Imran Khan along with other party leaders and workers in connection with attacks on military installations. Hassaan Niazi, a nephew of Imran Khan, was involved in alleged miscreants attacks and asked PTI leadership to stop patronizing them and hand them over to the police. (Zulqernain Tahir, Asif Chaudry, “Turn ‘terrorists’ in or be ready for action, Imran told,” Dawn, 18 May 2023)

TLP Chief Saad Hussain Rizvi declares 'Save Pakistan' March
On 17 May, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) announced a ‘Save Pakistan’ march from Karachi to Islamabad, starting on 22 May. The TLP has called upon its workers to prepare for this significant march, emphasizing its historical importance. In a press meeting the TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi expressed his sadness to see “the entire (governance) system was being sacrificed at the altar of the ego and few.” He added that their ego, arrogance, and lack of ability had caused significant damage to the state, leading to the system's collapse. He reiterated the reason for the collapse saying “ Everyone knows how the current ruling elite (PDM) came to power and destroyed the economy: no segment of society has been left unaffected by the disastrous policies that the government is following.” (“TLP march from Monday,” Dawn, 18 May 2023)

Despite receiving bail, PTI leaders were detained once again
On 17 May, PTI leader Ali Mohammad Khan, Maleeka Bokhari, and Dr. Shireen Mazari were detained by Punjab police after being released from custody on court orders. Police officials stated that Dr. Mazari was detained by the Islamabad police despite court orders, and Senator Falak Naz was arrested on 10 May and 12 May by the Secretariat police under 3MPO. Around one dozen leaders of the PTI are still in custody under the 3MPO and 16 MPO, and if they manage to secure freedom from courts, they will be arrested again in connection with 26 FIRs registered by the Islamabad police in the aftermath of the May 9 riots. (Munaweer Azeem, “PTI leaders arrested again despite securing bails,” Dawn,18 May 2023)

The government wants the NFC to be separated from the headcount
On 17 May, The government aims to separate the distribution of divisible pool resources among provinces from the National Finance Commission (NFC) after Pakistan's seventh national census showed a 2.8 per cent population growth, making it the fastest-growing country in the world. Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal at a news briefing said: “The existing [NFC] formula is regressive, as it provides 80pc weight to population and incentivizes population growth.”.He stated that holding an authentic census has become close to impossible due to the serious fault lines in two provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, and the Baloch-Pashtun divide. He also warned that India had delinked the population from resource distribution for two decades and made progress. ( Khaleeq Kiani, “Centre wants NFC delinked with headcount,” Dawn,18 May 2023)

According to PTI, the NSC debate was taken over for political reasons
On 17 May, PTI alleged that the forum of the National Security Committee (NSC) has been "hijacked" because of the meeting's political agenda. The NSC meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, decided to crush a peaceful movement and take a decision against the opposition party. Civil and military leadership endorsed a decision to invoke the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act against suspects involved in the May 9 riots. PTI demands an independent investigation into the burning of the Radio Pakistan building in Peshawar, alleging that it was a planned conspiracy to create a narrative of civil riots. The Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act were invoked to punish those responsible for arson attacks, but the NSC argued that civilians should not be tried under military laws. (Ikram Junaidi, “NSC moot hijacked for political purpose, says PTI,” Dawn, 18 May 2023)

Opening new Border marketplace; strengthening Pakistan-Iran cooperation
On 18 May, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Raisi are to inaugurate a new marketplace called the Mand-Pishin border sustenance marketplace. They have also established the Polan-Gabd electricity transmission line. A statement by the Foreign Office said: “The Polan-Gabd electricity transmission line plays a pivotal role in meeting the energy needs of the region, including households and businesses, by bringing in additional 100MW electricity from Iran.” The trade volume between the two countries is around USD 2 billion. The opening of the border will make it easier for goods and people to move between the two countries, boosting economic cooperation. Pakistan also highlighted the importance of opening new border markets and completing the long-delayed Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline for energy cooperation. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “Shehbaz, Raisi to open border market, transmission line today,” Dawn, 18 May 2023)

Pakistan to get USD 2 billion by Saudi deposits for the IMF deal
On 18 May, Business Recorder reported that Saudi Arabia has agreed to deposit USD 2 billion to meet one of the preconditions of the IMF, while the UAE has confirmed to the IMF that it will deposit USD 1 billion with the State Bank of Pakistan. On 10 May 2023, the Federal Cabinet was informed that Saudi Arabia had agreed to deposit USD 2 billion with the State Bank of Pakistan for a 1-year term. The Cabinet gave its approval to the Deposit Agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, based on Rule 16(1Xd) of the Rules of Business. (Mushtaq Ghumman, “$ 2bn Saudi Arabia deposits: Pakistan to pay 4pc annual profit,” Business Recorder,18 May 2023)

Pakistan government to focus on participating in IMF
On 18 May, the Business Recorder reported that the Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha at the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, discussed the importance of Pakistan’s continuity in its participation in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program. She discussed the government's efforts to reach an agreement with the Fund. Further, she emphasized the importance of controlling the budget deficit in the upcoming budget to provide relief to the people and avoid further borrowing that could contribute to inflation. The government is currently working on budget preparations and finalizing the budget numbers. They aim to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio by broadening the tax base and bringing the informal sector into the tax net. The budget for the next fiscal year is expected to be presented in early June. (“Stalled bailout: Govt to stick it out despite IMF procrastination,” Business Recorder, 18 May 2023)

Petroleum division Shares plan to reduce circular debt
On 18 May, the Business Recorder reported that during a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, Captain Muhammad Mahmood (retd) shared significant information about the petroleum sector. The circular debt in the sector reached PKR 1.7 trillion in December 2022, and the Petroleum Division has come up with a plan to reduce the circular debt in the petroleum sector. They plan to settle PKR 700 billion of gas companies' receivables through verification by the Auditor General of Pakistan. A proposal for a swap agreement worth PKR 300-400 billion between the power sector and Pakistan State Oil is under consideration. Revised gas tariffs implemented in January 2023 are expected to generate PKR 250 billion, while subsidies for the fertilizer sector will be abolished. The committee recommended lifting the moratorium on new gas connections and charging consumers the full monthly sale price. Additionally, concerns were raised about excluding certain company owners from the Exit Control List, prompting action to rectify the situation. (Wasim Iqbal, “Petroleum sector: Govt plans to curtail circular debt to Rs600bnBusiness Recorder, 18 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“13 groups are taking out their incompetence on the people, most of them are policemen who were recruited from the MNA MPA quota of June and Sharif and today they have become senior officers in the police.”
-Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

“The question from the government at the time and the powerful circles is that the amount of 60 billion coming from Britain was collected in the account of Malik Riyaz Bahria Town, that is, he did not let it go to the country's treasury by giving bribe and became the real beneficiary, it was facilitated by Imran Khan. The Cabinet and the Supreme Court did, why the law has not been moved against Malik Riyaz for this criminal act? Has he closed everyone's mouths with the magic and charm of his wealth?”
-Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui

“Law: trial in military courts of persons involved in physically damaging Government property as a result of riots etc (whether used by armed forces) can only take place in normal criminal courts and any trial under the army act would be in violation of constitution and fair trial.”
-Barrister Syed Ali Zafar

Also read...

Faisal Siddiqi, Judicial fairytales,
Dawn, 18 May 2023
“Pakistan has drafted its first National Adaptation Plan. While it awaits formal approval, an NDC Implementation Plan has been drafted prioritising 56 actions. Pakistan is now ready to develop an investment framework, structured on province-wise sectoral needs and priorities giving some initial costing estimates, ideally timed and aligned with GST processes. This will require synthesising a battery of documents including the national and provincial climate, water and agricultural policies, NAP, NDC, NIP and any other sectoral priorities.”

Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, Time for stocktaking,
Dawn, 18 May 2023
“Pakistan has drafted its first National Adaptation Plan. While it awaits formal approval, an NDC Implementation Plan has been drafted prioritising 56 actions. Pakistan is now ready to develop an investment framework, structured on province-wise sectoral needs and priorities giving some initial costing estimates, ideally timed and aligned with GST processes. This will require synthesising a battery of documents including the national and provincial climate, water and agricultural policies, NAP, NDC, NIP and any other sectoral priorities.”

Naseer Memon, Destitute people
Dawn, 18 May 2023
“Peace dividends would pay well if India and Pakistan did not let politics get in the way of economic ties. Billions of dollars spent on weapons could be saved by both countries. Bilateral trade can flourish if the two governments take advantage of the low cost of labour and accessible routes to each other’s territories. Both countries ought to invest their precious resources in developing human capital, which is the cornerstone of economic growth and social well-being of any country. The World Bank says that if Pakistan improves its human capital, its GDP per capita could rise by 144pc, eight times more than in conditions where ‘business as usual’ prevails.”

Durdana Najam, It’s not politics; it’s depravity
The Express Tribune, 18 May 2023
“We have built a nation that has learned to resolve everything with a fist and anguish bordering revenge. As a result, Pakistan is imploding not just because of the establishment’s insatiable desire for power but because of the immature, expedient and intolerant political leadership fighting for their turfs. On the one side is IK’s party, full of hatred for all those who disagree with his idealism. On the other is a group of parties that came together in the hatred of PTI. This is not politics. This is depravity.”

Inam UI Haque, Political maturity and politics of agitation
The Express Tribune, 18 May 2023
“PDM…where would you govern if there is no Pakistan. PTI…where would you hope to stage a comeback and stave off Pakistan’s so many nemeses if you weaken and discredit your own Army. This hooliganism will haunt you forever. For judiciary…where would you lord over, if justice is not delivered and seen to be delivered expeditiously, fully and effectively. And for Army…how would we defend the ideological and geographic boundaries of Pakistan if there are no people behind us, and what would we defend if there is no Pakistan…Allah forbid!”



“Pakistan has seen many black days, and from the hatred among the political partiesand the bitterness they harbour for one another, one does not see May 9, 2023, as its last black day.”
-An opinion in The Express Tribune, 'It’s not politics; it’s depravity'

Photo :

17 May 2023, Wednesday I Vol 4, No.96

The NSC approves the trial of rioters under the Army Act

Contempt of Parliament Bill, 2023 approved by the National Assembly

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

The NSC approves the trial of rioters under the Army Act
On 16 May, Pakistan's civil leadership and military top brass endorsed a decision to invoke the Army Act and Official Secrets Act against people suspected of involvement in the 9 May riots. The National Security Committee chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has also decided to lay hands within 72 hours on all those involved in the violent attacks, their facilitators, and leaders on whose instigation these people had committed vandalism. This move has come under severe criticism, with international human rights group Amnesty International also expressing concerns. 9 May was declared a "black day" and an official announcement was issued by the Prime Minister's Office endorsing the decision of the corps commanders' meeting to try the 'attackers' under the Army Act and Official Secrets Act. The committee pledged no leniency for those who attacked defence installations and called for national unity and harmony amid a complex geo-strategic situation. (Syed Iran Raza, “NSC validates trial of rioters under Army act,” Dawn,17 May 2023)

Fawad Chaudhry is to be produced in IHC
On 15 May, Islamabad High Court (IHC) justice ordered IG to produce Fawad Chaudhry and also requested the presence of the District Magistrate. This order was issued because the police failed to adhere to the restraining order to arrest him. Other PTI Leaders namely,  Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Maleeka Bukhari, Ejaz Chaudhry, Jamshed Cheema, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema and Ali Mohammad Khan also filed petitions and the court directed them to arrange meetings with their relatives. (Malik Asad, IHC issues production order for PTI’s Fawad ChaudhryDawn, 16 May 2023)

PTI: 'Agency men’ behind 9 May violence
On 17 May, Imran Khan was accused of being involved in the arson attacks and shootings after his arrest and urged the nation to attend a party protest at Muridke on 18 May. Imran Khan stated that the spread of fear through electronic and social media is being compared to the tactics used by Genghis Khan to instil fear in the public. PTI has issued a statement after a notable corps commanders’ conference vowed to bring violent protesters to justice through trial under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act. It claimed there was “irrefutable evidence” to establish that armed miscreants entered peaceful gatherings, indulged in arson, and fired live bullets on peaceful protesters, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. The PTI chief said: “Pakistan was going through the same Mongolian phase, “The same strategy is being employed here. People are being scared so that they desist from fighting for rights,” (Ikram Junaidi, Ahmed Fraz Khan, “ ‘Agency Men’ behind 9 May violence: PTI,” Dawn, 17 May 2023)

Contempt of Parliament Bill, 2023 approved by the National Assembly
On 16 May, the Contempt of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) Bill, 2023 was adopted by the National Assembly (NA). It stipulates that anyone found guilty of insulting the parliament could face up to six months in prison or a fine of PKR 1 million, or both.  The committee can conduct quasi-judicial proceedings, issue summons, and enforce attendance and document production. Judicial magistrates enforce the decisions, and appeals can be filed within 30 days. The bill also emphasizes loyalty to the state, and parliamentary oversight, and addresses the issue of individuals refusing to appear before committees. (“Bill recommending up to 6 months jail, Rs1m fine for contempt of parliament sails through NA,” Dawn, 16 May 2023)

Enhancement of funds for the so-called SDG-AP
On 16 May, the development schemes for constituencies continue to grow in spite of the tight fiscal position at the end of the fiscal year. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet increased the funds for the so-called Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme (SDGs-AP) to INR 91 billion. The Planning Ministry handed INR 17 billion that had been budgeted for Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, and other provinces and also settled other funds for development schemes under SAP. Further, the ECC approved several supplementary grants to the other ministries for developmental activities. (Khaleeq Kian, Cash-strapped govt squanders money on image-buildingDawn, 17 May 2023)

Foreign deposits in SBP to fulfil the IMF requisites
On 17 May, Business Recorder reported that Pakistan must get foreign funding of USD 6 billion to fulfil one of the requisites IMF. In response to that, the Federal Cabinet of Saudi Arabia accepted the proposal of a deposit agreement of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 10 May 2023. Therefore, Saudi Arabia decided to deposit USD 2 billion with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for a year with an annual profit rate of four per cent. UAE also agreed to the same by depositing USD 1 billion with SBP. (Mushtaq Ghumman, $2bn Saudi deposits: Pakistan to pay 4pc annual profitBusiness Recorder, 17 May 2023)

ECC approves supplementary grants, allocates funds for SDGs and various projects
On 17 May, Dawn reported that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved nine supplementary grants worth approximately PKR 11 billion, including an increase of PKR 1 billion to PKR 91 billion for parliamentarian's constituencies under the Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme (SDGs-AP). The funds aim to address social development constraints across the country, with specific allocations for small schemes benefiting members of the National Assembly. The ECC also approved grants for various purposes such as import expenses, road restoration, employee-related expenditures, development projects, and publicity/awareness campaigns. (Khaleeq Kiani, “Cash-strapped govt squanders money on image-building,” Dawn, 17 May 2023)

US media blasts Imran Khan for using the blasphemy
On 15 May, An annual US report again chastised the Pakistan Democratic Movement administration for accusing former Prime Minister Imran Khan of blasphemy. The US report on international religious freedom noted that Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz party leader Javed Latif accused former prime minister Imran Khan of ‘attacking the basic principles of Islam’ by ‘supporting’ the Ahmadiyya community. The USCIRF report called on Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy law and enact reforms to make blasphemy a bailable offence. (Anwar Iqbal, “US report slams blasphemy card against Imran,” Dawn, 17 May 2023)

Amendment of Pakistan-Tajikistan transit trade rules
On 17 May, Dawn reported the revision of Tajikistan-Pakistan transit trade rules that covers Karachi, Qasim and Gwadar Posts. Accordingly, the Office of directorate general Reform and Automation in Karachi will provide user IDs or passwords for those foreign businesses and other users registered with  Customs Computerised System. This ensures that every vehicle will have a valid permit while going in and out of Pakistan. Similarly, Peshawar and Quetta transit trade directorates can grant and manage permits at their land border customs locations. (Mubarak Zeb Khan, Govt amends rules for Pak-Tajikistan transit tradeDawn, 17 May 2023)

Constable arrested for school shooting in Swat; Investigation underway
On 17 May, A constable named Alam Khan was immediately arrested after a shooting incident, according to District Police Officer (DPO) Shafiullah Gandapur of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. An FIR was registered against the constable, and a special investigation team was formed. The accused had been suspended from the police force twice before being reinstated last year. The wounded victims were taken to Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital, which declared an emergency. The injured children were visited by the KP Inspector General and other officials, who ensured their proper treatment. (Murad Ali Khan, “1 schoolgirl killed, 7 injured in firing outside Swat school,” Dawn, 17 May 2023)

Drug smuggling on the rise, PALSP warns FBR
On 15 May, the Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP) warned the Federal Board of Revenue of the alarming rates of steel bars smuggling from Iran and Afghanistan that possess a significant threat to the Pakistan steel industry. According to the estimates, approximately 500,000 metric tons of steel are smuggled annually, resulting in an INR 25 billion loss in tax revenue collection. The smuggled steel accounts for about 15 per cent of the total domestic steel manufacturing capacity of the country. PALSP suggested several measures to combat the smuggling which include steel imports only via sea, tighter control, supervision, installation of additional check posts and digitalization. Additionally, they have also suggested increasing personnel from the Frontier Crops (FC), Police, and Army at check posts to strengthen enforcement. (Sohail Sarfraz, Rising steel smuggling from Iran, Afghanistan: PALSP issues ‘stern warning’ to FBRBusiness Recorder, 17 May 2023)


Pakistan on Twitter

“The roots of the mutinous attack on the state, its symbols & sensitive installations on May 9 lie in the contents of Imran Niazi's speeches over the past one year. He has liberally deployed religious imagery to brand his political agitation as a war between truth & falsehood. He has relentlessly maligned & attacked the armed forces & the sitting Army Chief & very cunningly prepared his cult with the slogans of "Haqeeqi Azadi" aimed at inciting them for violence we witnessed on May 9.”
-Shehbaz Sharif
“Apparently - operation dismantle has been started. The monster created by the establishment is now being dismantled by them. The whole experiment has cost a heavy price to Pakistan.”
-Azaz Syed
“Judiciary alone will take the country out of crisis, decisions will not be based on wishes, decisions will be made according to the constitution and the law. The more unpopular and hateful institutions will be removed from the current government, the more respect they will get.”
-Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

Also read...

Zahid Hussain, Creeping military rule?
Dawn, 17 May 2023
“There are reports of scores of forced disappearances; even journalists are not being spared. Social media and internet services have been facing intermittent closure. Such censorship has encouraged the spread of fake news and misinformation. Political instability makes it harder to revive the economy. The country is now facing an existentialist threat as the system collapses.”
Rafia Zakaria, Elections and complications
Dawn, 17 May 2023
“As elections draw closer in Pakistan, the pitch of allegations and counter allegations will become louder and louder. Amid the cacophony, Pakistan’s voting public must assess which party or leader is most likely to respect the rules so that the legitimacy of the selection remains intact. A leader must thus possess not only a commitment to the welfare of the country and its people but also to maintain the sanctity of the system via which he or she is selected.”
Mahir Ali, Three little words
Dawn, 17 May 2023
“Elections should not be postponed beyond October, and the PTI or its leader must not be excluded from them. But anyone looking upon the next elections as some kind of panacea is ultimately likely to be disappointed. The ship of state has drifted from its moorings, and no one really knows where it will land. If it’s not to turn into the Titanic, it needs a captain far more capable than Imran Khan.”

Talat Masood, Changing the political culture
The Express Tribune, 17 May 2023
"The country cannot remain mired indefinitely in petty squabbles of leaders while institutions trespass each other’s domain. We hope these contradictions will be overcome since it affects every segment of the society."



“The Punjab polls, cases against Imran Khan, and the new legal battles to deal with those who went on a ‘rampage’ will all play out in the courts. But even in the midst of these battles where the final outcome is far from clear, all I have to offer are a few musings on the skirmishes so far.”
-An opinion in Dawn, ‘Roots of the rage

Photo : Dawn

15 May 2023, Monday I Vol 4, No.95

Punjab Vandalism: Arrests Made and Suspects Identified in Attacks

Interior Minister accuses PTI workers of arson and terrorism and PTI to take Rangers to court over Imran's abduction

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Punjab Vandalism: Arrests Made and Suspects Identified in Attacks
On 15 May, Dawn reported that there have been violent acts of vandalism and attacks on important buildings in Punjab, Pakistan. Some suspects have been arrested, identified through videos and CCTV footage. The Special Branch of the Punjab Police has identified 62 suspects involved in these attacks and shared their information with the government. The Punjab Police has also arrested 292 additional suspects. The Special Branch collected evidence from various sources and prepared a report with details of the suspects. It is reported that more than 3,186 suspects were arrested since 9 May 2023. Among the incidents, the police allegedly damaged historical pictures at the house of Quaid-i-Azam and Fatima Jinnah. The leader has demanded action against the involved police officers. (Asif Chaudhry, “Mass arrests continue as 340 suspects in Jinnah House attack ‘held’,” Dawn, 15 May 2023)

Interior Minister accuses PTI workers of arson and terrorism
On 14 May, the Interior Minister, along with the Minister for Information, accused PTI workers of setting fire to properties, including a fighter jet belonging to national hero Air Commodore Mohammad Mehmood Alam. He expressed concerns that trained terrorists may be among the protesters and emphasized zero tolerance for such acts. While demands were made to ban PTI, legal processes were required. He criticized PTI leader Imran Khan for deceiving the nation and his cabinet regarding corruption allegations and urged citizens to vote against him. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Minister terms violence on Imran’s arrest pre-planned,” Dawn, 15 May 2023)

PTI to take Rangers to court over Imran's abduction
On 14 May, the PTI decided to bring a case against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Rangers over the "abduction" of its chairman, Imran Khan, from the Islamabad High Court last week. PTI sources reported that 24 people were killed and 700 others injured during demonstrations by PTI supporters, with over 3,500 leaders and workers taken to unidentified locations. The PTI condemned the proposed attack on the Supreme Court by "seminaries students" led by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and expressed solidarity with the Supreme Court.PTI Chairman Imran Khan urged citizens to come out of their homes and hold placards bearing inscriptions “Haqeeqi Azadi” and “Save Constitution – Save Pakistan”. Police and Rangers arrested protesters to break up demonstrations. Imran Khan said: “The government is petrified of elections and they fear being wiped out by the PTI in the polls and the ruling coalition is only willing to hold elections if he will be incarcerated or killed.” (Mansoor Malik, “PTI to take Rangers, NAB to court over Imran’s ‘abduction’,” Dawn,15 May 2023)

Police tensions caused Imran to delay his departure from IHC
On 12 May, Imran Khan was released from the Islamabad High Court but remained with the Islamabad police for 11 hours, accusing them of kidnapping. Rumors have arisen about the police's intentions to keep Khan in custody despite the court order. The Inspector General of Police Akbar Nasir Khan and the DIG (Security) met with former premier Imran Khan at the Supreme Court to inform him about the law and order situation. After he left the court, a senior officer and a caravan of seven police vehicles accompanied him to his house in Lahore’s Zaman Park locality. The Intelligence Bureau opposed the release of Imran Khan, claiming that his incitement of the public against state institutions had led to riots and violence. (Munawer Azeem, “War of nerves between Police, Imran delayed departure from IHC,” Dawn, 15 May 2023)

Riots caused damage worth PKR 250 million in Islamabad
On 15 May, Dawn reported that the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan resulted in PKR 250 million in damage to private and public property, while Rawalpindi police arrested 76 suspects in connection with an attack on the General Headquarters. The DPO Industrial Area in Islamabad was targeted by armed miscreants who set it on fire and opened fire at three police stations. 564 suspects were arrested, with 552 nominated in FIRs and 12 under MPOs. The protesters damaged private and government vehicles and motorcycles torched and destroyed 12 vehicles and 34 motorcycles, and injured 82 police officials. The police in Rawalpindi have arrested 264 suspects, including 76 involved in the attack on the GHQ. The CPO has been hunting for the planners and instigators of violence and stated that more arrests will be made. (Mohammad Asghar, Ikram Junaidi, “Riots caused damage worth Rs 250 M in Islamabad: report,” Dawn,15 May 2023)

A joint session of the Houses of Parliament is to be held
On 15 May, The National Assembly Secretariat (NAS) announced a joint sitting to discuss the 19-point agenda, including the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which was returned by President Alvi. The NAB law proposed by the government in March empowers the NAB chairman to transfer graft cases involving corruption of less than PKR 500 million to the relevant agency, authority, or department and closes pending inquiries and investigations where no case is made out. (“Joint sitting of parliament today,” Dawn, 15 May 2023)

Fazl is refusing to leave his sit-in outside the Supreme Court
On 14  May, a delegation of the federal government failed to convince the head of the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazlur Rehman, to change the venue of a sit-in scheduled to take place outside the Supreme Court. The protest was called by the PDM after PTI chairman Imran Khan received blanket relief from courts in cases lodged against him, including the Al Qadir Trust case. The interior minister failed to convince the PDM chief to change the venue of the sit-in to outside the Red Zone due to the large number of expected protesters.PPP Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari announced that the party's leadership, parliamentarians, and workers would participate in a peaceful protest and sit-in outside the Supreme Court on 15 May. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Fazl refuses to budge on-sit -in outside supreme court,” Dawn, May 15, 2023)

Arrests, Smuggling, and Drug Seizure: Border Incidents Unfold
On 13 May, a group of Afghan nationals was arrested during a late-night raid in Bacha Maina locality for illegally entering Pakistan without proper visas. They were detained at the Landi Kotal sub-jail for further legal proceedings. In a separate incident, customs authorities foiled a smuggling attempt at the border, seizing 575 kilograms of dry milk, 938 kilograms of betel nuts, 20 kilograms of emulsifier, and a Mercedes car worth PKR 6 million. The items were hidden in a coal-loaded vehicle from Afghanistan, and the driver was apprehended. Additionally, police seized 200 kilograms of charas from a car in Ali Masjid, resulting in the arrest of the driver. (“22 Afghans held for entering Pakistan illegally,” Dawn, 15 May 2023)

IMF denies USD 8 billion financing request, review delayed, and Pakistan reverses fuel Subsidy scheme
On 15 May, Dawn reported that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has denied reports suggesting that it is asking Pakistan to raise USD 8 billion in fresh financing. According to IMF spokesperson Esther Prez Ruiz, the external funding requirements have remained unchanged during discussions, and the claims have no truth. A staff-level agreement on a review that would unlock USD 1.1 billion in financing for Pakistan has been delayed, with the last mission to Pakistan taking place nearly 100 days ago. Pakistan's reserves have dropped, and the country received pledges of assistance from friendly countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and China. Pakistan has also decided to reverse the implementation of a fuel cross-subsidy scheme that raised concerns at the IMF. (“IMF denies asking Pakistan to raise $8bn in fresh financing,” Dawn, 15 May 2023)

IMF denies reports of USD 8 billion loan demand from Pakistan
On 14 May, Business Recorder reported that the IMF's Resident Representative for Pakistan, Esther Perez Ruiz, denied reports that the IMF is asking Pakistan to arrange USD 8 billion in fresh loans for external debt repayments. Ruiz clarified that the amount of financing necessary to support Pakistan's implementation efforts and ensure timely external payments has remained unchanged throughout discussions. Pakistan's bailout program with the IMF has stalled at the ninth review since November. Concerns arose after taxation measures and energy tariff hikes were implemented without reaching a staff-level agreement. The IMF is awaiting necessary financing assurances and welcomes financial support from external partners. (Ninth review: fresh financing requirements unchanged, says IMF,” Business Recorder, 14 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“We have ample amount of evidence to present to any independent inquiry that the arson and in some places shootings were done by agencies men who wanted to cause mayhem and blame it on PTI so the current crackdown would be justified.”
-Imran Khan

“The PPP refrained from acting emotionally & violently, even after some of the worst tragedies for the party, and the nation, when Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hung & Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was brutally assassinated.”
-Senator Sherry Rehman

“So without any investigation into who was responsible for arson on government building or dozens of deaths of unarmed protesters by bullet wounds , around 7000 PTI workers , leadership and our women have been jail ed with plans to ban the largest and only federal party in Pak . Meanwhile these goons are being facilitated by our security agencies to take over the SC and subvert the constitution. All citizens be ready for peaceful protests as once constitution and SC destroyed, it is the end of the Pak dream.”
-Imran Khan 

Also read...

Maleeha Lodhi, Why soft power counts
Dawn, 15 May 2023
“There is no reason for Pakistan not to do better in the Global Soft Power League by raising its diplomatic game. For this, it is necessary in the first instance for our officials to acknowledge the importance of soft power, identify the country’s soft power resources, and then imaginatively incorporate them in our foreign policy strategy and diplomacy.”

Huma Yusuf, Revolution now?
Dawn, 15 May 2023
“The peacock had been looted from the Lahore corps commander’s house in the wake of Imran Khan’s arrest, an ill-thought-out gesture to reclaim what rightfully belonged to the people. One wonders what became of that peacock, and one fears for its welfare. Its fate is an apt metaphor for the prospect of a mass political mobilisation in Pakistan. The unprecedented events of recent days have again stirred the question: is a revolution coming?”

Mohammad Ali Babakhel, Indigenous recipes
Dawn, 15 May 2023
"While dealing with extremism, developing states usually focus more on external factors; consequently, internal push and pull factors leading to radicalisation are often overlooked. The effectiveness of a narrative depends on the redressal of the target audience’s needs; ideally, it should be a combination of both generic and targeted interventions."

Muhammad Sheroz Khan Lodhi, Leadership needs to undergo surgery
Business Recorder, 15 May 2023
“Any system whose political leaders are not chosen through a genuine, transparent, and competitive process is doomed to fail sooner rather than later in the modern world. How can political parties run the affairs of the state with integrity if they don’t uphold democracy and justice within their own ranks?”

Ali Khizar, The cost of internet shutdown
Business Recorder, 15 May 2023
“Pakistan needs to accelerate its internet usage to move towards the digital and knowledge-based economy. The average consumption of data in Pakistan per user (7 GB per month) is around half of that of India. Hence, there is a lot of room to grow, but banning connectivity will make it even more difficult to catch up to rest of the world.”

Shahid Javed Burki, Democracy: is the system going to survive?
The Express Tribune, 15 May 2023
“Meanwhile the intense drama that preceded Khan’s release has raised serious concerns about the direction in which Pakistan is headed. Given all that has happened in the last few months, Pakistan, once again, cannot be sure that democracy has thrown roots in the country.”

Shaheer M Ashraf, Is change inevitable?
The Express Tribune, 15 May 2023
“A common mistake the ruling class in Pakistan makes is assuming that Pakistan’s ailments are ‘unique’. Whether it’s the French, American, Cuban or Russian Revolution, the underlying cause of these systemic upheavals is homogenous: a breakdown of the relationship between the people and the state.”




“History teaches us that you can’t build anything from hate.”
-An Opinion in Dawn, Revolution now?


Photo : Dawn

13 May 2023, Saturday I Vol 4, No.94

Imran Khan’s alleges army chief responsible for his arrest

Shehbaz Sharif criticises judiciary, accuses Imran Khan for Inciting unrest and PDM plans protest against Supreme Court in Islamabad

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief

Imran Khan’s alleges army chief responsible for his arrest
On 12 May, Imran Khan made several allegations at the premises of Islamabad High Court, where he accused the army chief as responsible for his recent troubles and the army chief is worried that he will de-notify him if he comes to power. Imran Khan also alleged that the government had victimized his party alleging that “5,000 people have been arrested during the last one year,” and he was tortured and hit by a baton on his head at the time of his arrest. Additionally, he discussed his leaked telephonic conversation with a party leader and explained why he talked to her instead of his wife. Finally, he denied responsibility for violent protests and damage to property that occurred during his recent arrest and detention. (Amir Wasim, “Former PM Imran blames army chief for arrest episode,” Dawn, 13 May 2023)

Mobile data services restored in Pakistan after political leader's bail
On 12 May, government of Pakistan restored the internet services after Imran Khan was granted bail. Following the blockade of mobile data service on 9 May, the government faced pressure from different groups to restore these services. The telecom companies were concerned that the prolonged suspension would harm businesses and damage Pakistan's reputation for managing the economy and foreign investment. (Kalbe Ali, “Mobile data services restored,” Dawn, 13 May 2023)

Shehbaz Sharif criticises judiciary, accuses Imran Khan for Inciting unrest
On 12 May, PM Shehbaz Sharif, criticized the judiciary for giving special treatment to Imran Khan, and alleged that the judiciary had protected Imran Khan in corruption cases in the past. The government was considering declaring a state of emergency due to the unrest caused by the arrest, but the proposal was rejected by other political parties. The prime minister accused Imran Khan of being behind the attacks on military institutions and promoting hatred and intolerance in society. The government lifted the suspension of mobile data service and social media platforms, which were blocked due to violent protests.(Syed Irfan Raza, “Verdicts about Imran termed ‘black stain’ on judiciary,” Dawn, 13 May 2023)

PDM plans protest against Supreme Court in Islamabad
On 13 May, Dawn reported that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) plans to hold a protest against the Supreme Court's behavior in Islamabad. The PDM and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), has not yet confirmed if they will participate in the demonstration. The PDM leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said the protest will be peaceful but warned that they would retaliate if anyone tried to harm them. The protest comes after the Islamabad High Court gave blanket bail to Imran Khan in all his cases. The initial arrest protest ensued in Pakistan and  Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code was imposed, barring the gathering of more than four people at any place. The PPP will join the sit-in, but the MQM is still undecided. The National Assembly session scheduled for Monday has been rescheduled to 10am instead of 5pm. (PDM to stage sit-in outside Supreme Court,” Dawn,13 May 2023)

Miftah Ismail on challenges for Pakistan to become a robust economy
On 12 May, former PML-N leader Miftah Ismail discussed the challenges faced by Pakistan in becoming an economically robust country and the fundamental issues preventing it from being part of the global supply chain. He pointed out the vast difference between the quality of education given at public and private elite schools, the domination of politics by families, the elite capture of the industrial sector, and the ineffective governance in the country. He also mentions the rapidly growing population and terrorism as major problems that need to be tackled. To achieve economic growth, he suggests having a governing philosophy that considers whether giving subsidies to industries will be conducive to economic growth and help with social justice. (Atika Rehman, “Pakistan has world’s most ineffective governance: Miftah,” Dawn, 13 May 2023)

Punjab police arrested 540 PTI leaders since the protest
On 13 May, Dawn reported that 540 PTI leaders were arrested by Punjab police folowing the protests in Pakistan turned violent, with protesters damaging public and private property and attacking police officers. The police have responded by arresting thousands of protesters and party leaders, using CCTV footage and other video recordings to identify them. A police raid on 12 May in the PTI's office, resulted in a scuffle between the police and party workers The Punjab police chief has defended the arrests, saying that those involved in attacks on public property and police officers deserve no sympathy. Additionally, the Punjab police has filed 205 cases against PTI party leaders since the protest. The PTI has condemned the arrests and accused the police of committing state terrorism. (Asif Choudry, “540 more PTI leaders and workers picked up in Punjab,”  Dawn, 13 May 2023)

PM Shehbaz Sharif rebukes Imran for comments against COAS
On 12 May, PM Shehbaz Sharif chastised Imran Khan over allegations against Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir. He stated that Imran Khan's predecessor's remarks were another example of his disgusting mentality towards the Pakistan Army. He said: “Imran planned the ‘desecration of martyrs' graves and attacks on sensitive installations and buildings during the protests and that his remarks against Gen Munir were nothing but malice.” PM Shehbaz referred to the incidents of violence and arson during protests after Imran Niazi's arrest at the IHC on 9 May. (Sanaullah Khan,“ ‘Disgusting Mentality’: PM shehbaz rebukes Imran for Comments regarding COAS,” Dawn, 13 May 2023)

Cabinet opposes leniency for those involved in violent protest
On 12 May, the federal cabinet called for no leniency against those involved in organized violence against the state, Constitution, and law, as it hurts the nation's dignity. The Cabinet meeting expressed concerns over the situation in Pakistan, observing that the leader of a "miscreant and foreign-funded" party had inflicted damage. Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar briefed the meeting about the arrest of the PTI chief in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case and his sudden release on the order of the Supreme Court. The meeting also expressed solidarity with law enforcement for action against lawlessness. (“Cabinet wants no leniency for those involved in May 9 violence,” The Express Tribune, 13 May 2023)

PPP claims 'winning' numbers in Karachi Mayor election 
On 12 May, Pakistan Peoples Party announced its nominee as the next mayor of Karachi to prove its success in the mayoral election. The PPP Karachi chapter is confident that a 'Jiyala mayor' will be elected soon, with 155 members in the soon-to-be-formed City Council. The PPP party is staging a rally on Chundrigar Road on 13 May to celebrate their victory in the local government polls addressed by PPP chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He said: “The PPP has always enjoyed support in Karachi as a political force.”(Imran Ayub, “PPP claims ‘ winning’ numbers for election of Karachi Mayor,” Dawn,13 May 2023)

Three member bench lead by CJP to take up ECP’s plea for the review of Punjab polls order 
On 12 May, Dawn reported that the Supreme Court has fixed the ECP's plea for reconsideration of its order to hold elections in the Punjab Assembly on 14 May. The petition will be heard next week by a three-member bench, including Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justices Ijazul Ahsan and Munib Akhtar. The Supreme Court had directed the government to release PKR 21 billion for the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and provide a security plan to the ECP. The election commission filed a plea seeking a review of the court’s 4 April order, filed through Advocate Sajeel Shehryar Swati on 3 May. The ECP said: changing the election program was the solitary domain of the commission under Section 58 of the Elections Act 2017. The Constitution is silent regarding the change of date of elections, so recourse had to be made to the Elections Act. (Haseeb Bhatti, “ CJP Bandial - led bench to take up ECP’s plea seeking review of Punjab polls order on Monday,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)

The government plans to borrow a total of PKR 9.4 trillion from the domestic banking sector
On 13 May, Business Recorder reported that the government is planning to borrow PKR 9.4 trillion from the domestic banking sector in May-July 2023 to meet its financial needs. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued six auction calendars for the sale of Market Treasury Bills (MTBs), Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs), and the Government of Pakistan Ijara Sukuk (GIS). The targeted amount of MTBs includes PKR 7.084 trillion of the maturing amount and an additional amount of PKR 416 billion. In the auction calendar, the federal government has planned to borrow PKR 1.49 trillion through the sale of long-term Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs). An amount of PKR 360 billion will be raised through the auction of GOP Ijara Sukuk Fixed Rental Rate (FRR) and PKR 90 billion against the sale of GOP Ijara Sukuk Variable Rental Rate (VRR) during the next three months. (Rizwan Bhatti, “May - July: govt intends to borrow record Rs 9.4 trillion,” Business Recorder,13 May 2023)

US stand on Pakistan’s political turmoil
On 11 May, Vedant Patel, a US spokesperson, responded to the question of Islamabad’s situation in a news briefing: “I’m just not going to speculate on that. That is something internal to Pakistan.” Further, he replied to the issue of military office attacks: “What our interest is, is a safe and secure, prosperous Pakistan. That is in the interest of the US-Pakistan relations.” Patel objected to the reporter’s viewpoint on US’s firm hesitation to take a side between the government and Imran Khan. Rather than focusing on Islamabad’s political turmoil, the US wants to build economic relations with the former as it is an important trade partner in the region. (Anwar Iqbal, “US wants ties with Pakistan, not with a party or candidate,” Dawn, 13 May 2023)

Tajik exporters were granted full access to Pakistani ports for transit and bilateral trade
On 12 May, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) issued procedures for processing transit trade cargo and bilateral goods between Pakistan and Tajikistan through the Customs Computerized System.FBR issued SRO to notify Tajikistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Rules. The Logistics Facilitation Centre recorded the particulars of the driver and vehicle in the CCS and linked them with the FIA’s immigration module. The procedure is applicable to Tajikistan’s cargo imported through Karachi Port, Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, and Gwadar Port to other countries via Karachi Port, Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, and Gwadar Port. Foreign entities must complete a registration form submitted by the Ministry of the Republic of Tajikistan and nominate up to three customs clearing agents or brokers to handle their transit cargo in Pakistan. (Sohail Sarfraz, “Transit, bilateral trade: Tajik exporters given full access to Pakistani ports,” Business Recorder, 13 May 2023)

Implementation of Cheaper energy projects delayed
On 13 May, Dawn reported that a parliamentary panel and federal Ministry are pressing to implement 680 MW of 13 solar and wind power projects of category -III to ensure cheaper and clean energy. Though tax charges are approved by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), the implementation process is delayed due to shifting government policies. Mr Dastgir, Minister of Human Rights, said that there are ‘no comments and feed have been forthcoming’ from PM regarding the submitted draft summary. In the panel discussion, Human Rights Minister Prizada requested Shehbaz not to ally with Turkey, China and others as they may suffer an “irresolute, myopic and indolent bureaucracy.” (Khaleeq Kiani, “PM asked to implement cheaper energy projects,” Dawn, 13 May 2023)

Seven militants were killed in Balochistan
On 12 May, Security forces killed seven militants., where five were dead in a heavy exchange of fire with security forces in the Hoshab area of Kech district. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) reported that two soldiers were martyred in a gunfight between the two sides, while a large cache of arms and ammunition was recovered. Balochistan’s chief minister, Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo stated that FC soldiers played a key role in thwarting militant attacks, resulting in heavy losses. The TTP has intensified its attacks, particularly targeting police in KP and Afghanistan, and is forging a nexus with Baloch separatists and local militant groups. (Saleem Shahid, “Seven Militants killed in separate operation in Balochistan,” Dawn,13 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

"Imran Niazi's statement about the Army Chief is a reflection of his diseased & obsessive mindset. As DG ISI, Gen Asim Munir unearthed the corruption syndicate of Niazi & that is why he has been maligning the COAS from day one. It is also his admission of masterminding the tragic and disgraceful incidents of terrorism undertaken by PTI goons at his behest. The desecration of the martyrs' monuments & attack on the national installations represent an unimaginable low in our politics. The nation stands behind its armed forces & will thwart any nefarious attempts at undermining them."
-Shehbaz Sharif 
“There are fragile signs of hope in Pakistan: The SupLadies & gents, Imran Khan is not against the state, he is The State now. He is a Super GHQ, a Super Supreme Court, a Super Establishment & a Super Prime Minister. Politically, physically, ideologically untouchable. This is Imranistan. Pakistan is a story long gone now.eme Court decision yesterday and the Islamabad High Court's today ordering Imran Khan's release, and growing opposition within the military to the heavy-handed over-reach of some. ”
-Zalmay Khalilzad

“Ladies & gents, Imran Khan is not against the state, he is The State now. He is a Super GHQ, a Super Supreme Court, a Super Establishment & a Super Prime Minister. Politically, physically, ideologically untouchable. This is Imranistan. Pakistan is a story long gone now..”
-Syed Muzammil Shah

Also read...

Pervez Hoodbhoy, Don’t blame Imran Khan alone
Dawn, 13 May 2023
“While the much-feared second breakup of Pakistan is not going to happen, the downward descent will accelerate as the poor starve, cities become increasingly unlivable, and the rich flee westwards. Whether or not elections happen in October and Khan rises from the ashes doesn’t matter. To fix what has gone wrong over 75 years is what’s important.”

Afzal Ali Shigri, Shaky governance arrangement
Dawn, 13 May 2023
“By uniting under a single banner, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan can secure their constitutional rights and carve a better future for themselves and future generations. It is crucial to ensure that the party’s agenda represents the views and interests of all members of the community and operates within the framework of democratic principles and the rule of law.” 

Farhat Ali, Govt on course to wind things up
Business Recorder, 13 May 2023
“The IMF programme for Pakistan is an imperative. But, it is unlikely that the IMF will commit its funds in the present state of political turmoil and uncertainty; hence its present foot-dragging. In all probability, the IMF task will be picked up by the next government, signaling the urgency for a political settlement and a fresh elected government in office.”

Tehreem M Alam, Our political system: a story of unfulfilled promises
The Express Tribune, 13 May 2023
“Don’t get me wrong, I am actually rooting for the very aggressive protesters that have taken to the streets in response to Imran Khan’s arrest because they bring a hope of revolution that we so desperately need. But we also need to keep in check our expectations: is this revolt enough to bring the change we need or is this a mere expression of the average Pakistani’s frustration with the ever-increasing inflation, the unaffordable food prices or the covert threat to their lives in case they decide to speak up?”

Editorial, Turf war
Dawn, 13 May 2023
“If anything, they seem prepared to climb two steps up the escalation ladder. Mr Khan’s insistence on pointing fingers even after securing bail from the Islamabad High Court yesterday does not bode well. ‘The gloves are off’ seems to be a tired cliché at this point. One prays we never reach the ‘daggers drawn’ stage. There is an immediate need to defuse the prevailing tensions at this point. The country cannot bear the stress much longer."

Editorial, Grave mistakes
Dawn, 13 May 2023
"Mr Khan should perhaps not have been arrested, and definitely not in the manner in which he was. The ugliness with which the state went after him seems to have validated the fears held by his party and contributed to the violent backlash. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the government and the establishment to also make amends."

Editorial, Self-defeating policy
Business Recorder, 13 May 2023
“This is no way to survive in the modern world. Pakistan is already dangerously close to being a lost cause with its economy collapsing and its politics becoming a zero-sum game. And while leaders from all over the political spectrum have had a role to play in this sad slide, the government of the day must still take the bulk of the responsibility; especially when it comes to things like restricting ordinary people’s, and workers’, access to online space.”





“Mr Khan should perhaps not have been arrested, and definitely not in the manner in which he was. The ugliness with which the state went after him seems to have validated the fears held by his party and contributed to the violent backlash.”
-An opinion in Dawn ,‘Grave mistakes'

Photo : Dawn

12 May 2023, Friday I Vol 4, No.93

President Alvi to PM Shehbaz on Imran's arrest and violence

Suspension of Internet service violates fundamental rights and Sindh CM wants PTI leaders to return to the Assembly

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

President Alvi to PM Shehbaz on Imran's arrest and  violence
On 11 May, President Dr Arif Alvi wrote to Shehbaz Sharif that he was upset at Imran Khan's detention  stating: “I and the people of Pakistan were shocked to see video images of the incident which reflect the manhandling of the former prime minister who is … substantially supported by the people of Pakistan.” He critiqued the people’s violent protest and said: “The painful event led to attacks by mobs on public assets, including buildings of the armed forces. I believe that the people have a right to protest, but they should remain peaceful and within the bounds of the law.” Further, he suggested: “We must rethink and look for a political solution rather than coercion and arrests.” (Syed Irfan Raza, “President slams ransacking of public property,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)
Suspension of Internet service violates fundamental rights 
On 11 May, Advocate Abuzar Sal­man Niazi, the petitioner, challenged the court for the blockage of internet connection and social media, which violated the Fundamental Rights of the people. Therefore, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh ordered the federal government and the Pakistan Tele­communi­cation Authority (PTA) to reply by May 22, 2023, and seek assistance in interpreting concerned laws. (“LHC seeks replies over internet suspension,” Dawn, 12 May 2023) 

Sindh CM wants PTI leaders to return to the Assembly
On 12 May, Dawn reported that the treasury and opposition members criticised the violence through a resolution in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh. Consequently, Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah said: “After Imran Khan’s arrest, some protesters came out in Karachi, Hyderabad and other districts … holding peaceful protest is the right of everyone but no one will be allowed to take the law into his hands … those who came out against the motherland will be taken to task.” Despite that, CM did not agree to MQM-P’s proposal as he wanted PTI leaders to request an invocation of Article 6 on Imran Khan. Additionally, he said: “Now time has come for PTI and they (PTI lawmakers) should be given a chance to come and sit here.” (“Murad disagrees with MQM-P’s suggestion about treason trial of PTI leadership,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)

Leakage of audio calls post the Arrest of Imran Khan
On 12 May, Dawn reported about two leaked audio calls on social media and mainstream media. One of the taped calls on 9 May 2023 alleged that Mr Khan was inquiring about “the situation” to Musarrat Jamshed Chee­ma, a PTI leader. But Azhar confirmed it later and added that the “real issue” is the supremacy of the Constitution. The other leaked audio was between PTI’s legal team head, where they discussed the transmission of the case from SC to IHC for Friday and details of handlers of the case. (Malik Asad, “Two more audio leaks surface,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)

IMF plans to discard the fuel subsidy plan due to the challenging situation
On 11 May, according to the report of Bloomberg News, the government informed the IMF that it decided not to launch a fuel subsidy programme, as the two entities arranged a long-delayed USD 1.1 billion bailout. IMF assured of its involution with the government notwithstanding political tensions. Reuters reported Pakistan's request for supplemental finance to resume the ninth review. Meantime, Pakistan's State Bank reserves incline to USD 4.38 billion. IMF spokeswoman Julie Kozack recognised and said: “Our team is very heavily engaged of course with the Pakistani authorities because Pakistan indeed faces a very challenging situation.” (“Govt tells IMF it will scrap fuel subsidy plan,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)

Political turmoil in Pakistan causes slump in business and financial transactions
On 12 May, there was a significant decrease in commercial activity in Pakistan due to political turmoil and protests following the arrest of Imran Khan. The government's suspension of mobile data services since 9 May following the orders of the interior ministry, has also contributed to this decline. As a result, international payment card transactions have decreased by 45 per cent in volume and 46 per cent in value. Domestic payment transactions have also reduced by 52 per cent in volume and 56 per cent in value. Habib Bank Ltd (HBL), Pakistan's largest bank, has seen a decline of 60 per cent in the use of its POS machines. This situation has caused a slump in business and financial transactions in the country. (Digital payments halve in ‘longest’ internet shutdown,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)
Pakistani Rupee falls to PKR 299 and Foreign Exchange Reserves decreased to USD 4.38 billion
On 11 May, the rupee in Pakistan lost value against the US dollar in the open market, dropping by PKR 2 to settle at PKR 299. The foreign exchange reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also decreased by USD 74 million to USD 4.38 billion in the first week of May. The decline in the value of the rupee is not solely due to the political situation in the country but also because of large payments from Pakistan that have allowed the dollar to gain strength. A large bank has been buying dollars since 10 May, which has boosted demand in the limited interbank market. The rupee has depreciated by 5.05 per cent during this month, 24.25 per cent in the current calendar year, and 31.47 per cent since the start of the current fiscal year. (Shahid Iqbal, “Rupee hits new low near 300 vs dollar,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)
US Senate closely monitoring situation in Pakistan, calls for de-escalation
On 11 May, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee was closely monitoring the situation in Pakistan, including the recent shutdown of internet services and the arrest of Imran Khan. The committee's chairman, Senator Bob Menendez, has called for de-escalation efforts and the restoration of internet services, stating that these shutdowns dangerously suppress the freedoms of the people in Pakistan. The UN rights chief has also urged Pakistani security forces to show restraint and for protesters to refrain from violence. US senators are urging the State Department to ask the Pakistani government to fix a date for elections to end the current political crisis in the country. (Anwar Iqbal, “US Senate panel wants tensions de-escalated,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)
Pakistan rules out talks with TTP and responds to international remarks
On 12 May, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addressed the recent statements made by the UN, foreign countries and missions regarding the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan and subsequent violence. She reiterated Pakistan's ability to deal with domestic challenges according to its laws and constitution and ruled out any dialogue with TTP, which she said did not respect Pakistan's laws and constitution. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “Pakistan capable of dealing with internal matters: FO,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)
China sends warships to protect the economic corridor in Pakistan
On 12 May The Express Tribune reported that China has reportedly sent two warships to Pakistan to safeguard the seas of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an ambitious infrastructure project that links China to Pakistan aimed at offering an alternative transportation route for goods. The frigates will be used to protect Gwadar Port, located on a key waterway in the Arabian Sea, which is part of the CPEC network. The move highlights the deepening economic and military ties between China and Pakistan, looking to strengthen their alliance amid geopolitical uncertainty in the region. (“China completes warship deliveries to Pakistan,” The Express Tribune, 12 May 2023)
Minister and officials discuss the role of the judiciary and constitution in Pakistan
On 11 May, during a session on the constitution and courts, Minister of Poverty Alleviation Social Safety Shazia Marri stated that chaos is harmful to the country's development and that the role of each institution, including the judiciary, is defined by the constitution. She mentioned the need for public scrutiny of judges to ensure transparency. Dr Kizito Mhagama, a member of parliament from the United Republic of Tanzania, spoke about the courts' responsibility to interpret the law in his country, and former Senator Safdar Abbasi discussed attempts to abrogate the constitution in Pakistan. Zafarullah Khan highlighted the importance of appointing judges and mentioned how Senate members scrutinise judges in the United States. (“Speakers call for scrutiny in judicial system,” The Express Tribune, 12 May 2023)
Global internal displacement reaches unprecedented high in 2022
On 11 May, Dawn reported that, in 2022, a record-breaking 71.1 million internally displaced people (IDPs) were registered, a  rise of 20 per cent from the previous year. It is estimated that 60.9 million new internal displacements were reported, with some people forced to flee multiple times during the year. The increase was largely due to the war in Ukraine, monsoon floods in Pakistan, and ongoing conflicts and natural disasters around the world. Nearly three-quarters of the world’s IDPs live in just 10 countries, many of which are experiencing unresolved conflicts and continued displacement. Natural disasters accounted for most new internal displacement, spurring 32.6 million movements in 2022 accounted for most new internal displacement, spurring 32.6 million movements in 2022. (“Over 71m internally displaced in 2022,” Dawn, 12 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“The Chief Justice was very happy today to meet the incident of 60 billion of national exchequer and he was even more happy to release this criminal. The Chief Justice is the most responsible for the attacks on the most important and sensitive facilities of the country, who has become the shield of a fitnah and is pouring fuel on the fire in the country. You should leave the post of Chief Justice and join Tehreek-e-Insaf like your mother-in-law.”
-Maryam Nawaz Sharif
“Pak media is suppressing information about ongoing protests and disturbance on the streets. This is the worst thing to do. Citizens have a right to know more so for the safety of families that may have to travel. Spoke to a colleague who lives close to Liberty Market Lahore. He says there is shelling going on. Power transmission is disturbed and so are internet services. This is ridiculous. What else is a martial law. ”
-Raza Ahmad Rumi

“NAB's one-day hospitality made Imran Niazi do what Shaukat Khanum's doctors failed to do in months. Imran Niazi reached the court walking comfortably and the wheelchair has been removed.”
-Ahsan Iqba

Also read...

Editorial, Internet blackout
Dawn, 12 May 2023
“The state needs to lift this blockade immediately. While there may be genuine concerns about violent elements using the digital realm to spread havoc, there should be more intelligent options than to shut down the internet. The authorities can, by working with platforms, isolate individual accounts involved in promoting violence.”

Aneela Shahzad, Arrested democracy
The Express Tribune, 12 May 2023
“The gargantuan profits thus accumulated make this class utterly unequal from the rest of the humanity. These surplus profits are then stacked in far-flung tax havens — havens that are to be kept far from those who are living in a fool’s paradise because they are dangerous people, for they have been overdosed with the notion (read opium) of ‘democracy’, ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’.”

Dr Pervez Tahir, Listening to labour
The Express Tribune, 12 May 2023
“The information revolution and the rise of digital technology has profoundly changed the nature and the place of work. In Islamabad this week, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan organised a timely roundtable on reconceptualising the notion of labour and labour rights in this changing context.”
Editorial, Troubled waters
Dawn, 12 May 2023
“The tide has to turn in favour of empathy for impoverished anglers and their families so that inadvertent crossovers can be prevented and if caught, consular access and legal aid must be swiftly provided and repatriation done quickly. However, the priority should be to protect them from the subcontinent’s tortuous legal systems. Sending prisoners home should be more than an annual symbol of amity.”





“Imran Khan must ensure that his supporters and sympathisers do not get into any
further confrontation with the state.”
-An opinion in Dawn,‘ Deus ex machina 


Photo : Dawn

11 May 2023, Thursday I Vol 4, No.92

Audio leaks alleging PTI leader ordering vandalization of commanders house

Coalition government condemns violent protests and Imran Khan files appeal over arrest warrants

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Audio leaks alleging PTI leader ordering vandalization of commanders house
On 10 May, PTI supporters staged protests and sit-ins in Lahore following the arrest of Imran Khan. The situation turned violent when party workers allegedly set fire to the Corps Commander House. PTI Central Punjab President Dr.Yasmin Rashid refuted allegations that she instructed workers to do so. She claimed it was a doctored audio clip and that the party's opponents in power were sabotaging their movement. The police have reportedly arrested several PTI leaders and activists, and PTI leaders have called for a wheel-jam strike and closure of markets in Lahore. (Mansoor Malik, “Attack on Corps Commander’s House: Audio leaks suggest PTI leadership was on board,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)

Coalition government condemns violent protests
On 11 May, the federal government condemned violent protests and property damage following the arrest of Imran Khan. JUI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman demanded action against those who set public property alight, while former president Asif Ali Zardari called the riots “regrettable and shameful”. Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb condemned the attacks on the building and offices of state-run Radio Pakistan and the Associated Press of Pakistan in Peshawar. Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said cooperation between global states was essential to address challenges faced by constitutional democracies. Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan accused the PTI party of being fascist. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Ruling coalition hits back at PTI after deadly unrest,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)
Imran Khan files appeal over arrest warrants
On 10 May, Imran Khan's counsel filed an appeal on his behalf in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, expressing apprehension over imminent threat to his life and liberty. The appeal argues that the arrest warrants issued by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) appear to be in violation of Article 10-A and were intended to deprive his political party and its leadership of participating in the election campaign. It also argues that the arrest made on court premises was illegal and made with mala fide intention to harass and damage Khan's reputation. (Nasir Iqbal, “Imran moves SC against his ‘unlawful’ arrest,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)
Pakistan authorizes army deployment to maintain law and order situation
On 10 May, the Pakistani government authorized the deployment of the army to maintain law and order in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces under Article 245 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. The decision came after protests are held across the country after the arrest of opposition leader Imran Khan. The provincial government would work out the exact number of troops, date, and deployment area in consultation with the Military Operations Directorate, General Headquarters. The Balochistan government has yet to request army deployment. (Sanaullah Khan, “Army deployed in Islamabad, Punjab, KP to restore law and order,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)
Consecutive Arrests in PTI After Imran Khan
On 10 May, Pakistani politician Ali Muhammad Khan Umar was arrested by Islamabad police on charges of causing damage to state property. Umar was heading to the Supreme Court to challenge the arrest of another PTI leader, Imran Khan when he was taken into custody. PTI leaders criticized the arrest and claimed it was illegal, as Umar had been granted protective bail by the Sindh High Court. The arrest comes amidst protests across the country following Imran Khan's arrest. (Abdullah Momand, “After Imran, PTI’s Asad Umar arrested from IHC premises,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)

Asif Ali Zardari asks Imran to appear in court
On 10 May, Asif Ali Zardari, former president, said: “I was in jail for 14 years but never allowed workers of our party to take the law in their hands.”. He said: “He (Imran) should face the courts. He should not be afraid or run away.” He also affirmed that violent acts will not be encouraged. (“Zardari tells Imran to face courts,” The Express Tribune, 11 May 2023)

PTI Leader Chaudhry arrested outside the SC building
On 11 May 2023, The Express Tribune reported the arrest of Fawad Chaudhry, PTI Leader. He was arrested immediately by the waiting officers outside the SC building. Following the arrest of Imran Khan, this comes after the arrest of PTI leaders - Umar and Cheema. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, senior party leader, denied those reports and said: “All kinds of tactics are being used to spread misinformation and create terror and panic among our party’s supporters,” he added. “I warn you; this is a big mistake! The Pakistani nation will not sit idle in their homes. No fear!” (“PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry arrested after evading police for 12 hours,” The Express Tribune, 11 May 2023)

International Constitutional Convention Reinforcing Democratic Principles
On 10 May 2023, the Constitutional Convention commemorated the Golden Jubilee of the Pakistan Constitution where 17 countries participated. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Speaker of NA, emphasised the crucial role of Parliament as the only legislative organ of the State. Further, he reiterated former prime minister (late) Benazir Bhutto said: “Democracy is not a product but a continuous process.” Also, he invited various other participants to share their opinions on constitutional governance. Though the convention aids international solidarity, it also represents the determination of Pakistan to reinforce democratic principles. (“All institutions accountable to parliament: speaker,” The Express Tribune, 10 May 2023)

Indication of Imran Khan in the Toshkhana Case 
On 10 May 2023, Imran Khan was mentioned in the Toshkhana case, despite his plea for a postponement. Sher Afzal Marwat, Khan’s lawyer, opposed this action and alleged that Imran was “kept awake” in a dirty room without a bed throughout the night. Further, his counsel said: “Imran’s message is that even if martial law is imposed, you [the nation] must stand up for the rule of law.” (“Imran indicted in Toshakhana case despite 'boycotting' proceedings,” The Express Tribune, 10 May 2023)

The gold price reaches a hike of PKR 240,000
On 10 May, In Pakistan, gold prices rose to their highest-ever single-day highs of PKR 9,900 and PKR 8,487 in one-tola and 10-gram rates, respectively, Despite no significant change in the international market. All Sindh Saraf Jewellers Association announced that the one-tola and 10-gram of gold hit an all-time high of PKR 240,000 and PKR 205,761, while the world gold price has swelled by USD 207 per ounce. Pakistani rupee hit a record low in the interbank market, closing at PKR 290.22, down by PKR 5.38 from Tuesday due to international price and exchange rate fluctuations. The CEO of Topline Securities, Mohammad Sohail said: “Some investors are buying gold due to massive rupee depreciation and deepening political noise.” (Aamir Shafaat Khan, Gold price hits record Rs 240,000,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)

On the protest in Pakistan, the US refuses to take sides and the UK government considers it to be an internal matter 
On 10 May, Imran Khan's arrest sparked protests in the US and UK, with the US acknowledging its awareness but refusing to take sides, and Britain claiming it was an internal matter for Pakistan. In response to Imran Khan's arrest, Pakistani American community held protest rallies and meetings in more than a dozen in American and Canadian cities. Protests of Pakistani Americans were held across the United States and Canada, culminating in a larger protest at Times Square in New York. British PM Rishi Sunak said: “The arrest of the former Prime Minister [Imran Khan] is an internal matter for Pakistan. We support peaceful democratic processes and adherence to the rule of law and we are monitoring the situation carefully.” (Anwar Iqbal, Atika Rehman, “US refuses to take sides, UK terms arrest internal matter,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)

Pakistan and Iran Plan to restore gas pipeline project
On 10 May, Pakistan and Iran decided to explore new channels of partnership in aviation, including direct flights, the resumption of the gas pipeline project, and the expansion of trade between the two countries. Both Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar and visiting Chairman of the Majlis of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Commission of National Security and Foreign Policy, Vahid Jalalzadeh, agreed to strengthen commercial ties and increase connectivity during a meeting. They also discussed the importance of establishing direct flights between Pakistan and Iran, as well as the Pak-Iran Gas pipeline which emphasized the need to expedite the project and open new border markets to increase trade volume. (Mubarak Zeb Khan, “Pakistan, Iran to revive gas pipeline project,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)

The ECP is looking for a report on the ‘prohibited funding' of political parties
On 10 May, the ECP chief instructed a committee to scrutinize the accounts and banking records of political parties, including the PTI, PML-N, and PPP, for prohibited funding. Last year, the committee found that PTI had received funds from prohibited sources. In response, PTI filed a complaint alleging irregularities and kickbacks in the funding of other political parties. The commission also announced the date for polling in three National Assembly seats and set a hearing to investigate irregularities in a recent by-election. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “ECP seeks report on ‘prohibited funding’ of political parties,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)

IHC dismisses petition seeking Imran Khan's disqualification, judgment deleted from the website
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared a petition seeking Imran Khan's disqualification as "not maintainable" and criticized the petitioner's conduct in filing the case. The judgment was authored by Justice Kayani and assented to by Justice Tahir. However, the judgment was deleted from the court's website, and a press release was issued stating that the opinion of the judges did not constitute a judgment of the court and was against court rules and norms. The chief justice has reconstituted the bench for rehearing the case and action is being taken against those responsible for uploading the opinion without a cause list. (Umer Burney, “Drama at IHC over Tyrian White case judgment,” Dawn, 11 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“After the arrest of Fitnah, people did not come out anywhere in Pakistan. Only the trained bullies who were being trained at Zaman Park for the past several months have come out. It has also been proven from the audios that have come out today that this sabotage was planned by Imran Khan himself and the installations were marked where he was to be attacked in case of his arrest. The people have also seen these terrorists of Tehreek-e-Insaaf with their own eyes and refused to be a part of any protest. This is a big slap on the face of Imran Khan's destructive politics. The government should not make any concessions to these miscreants.”
-Maryam Nawaz Sharif 

“The law should be allowed to take its course. Peaceful protest is a right, but not this shocking level of burning & violence. All our leaders got arrested. When SMBenazirBhutto was martyred pres Zardari was at pains to put country above the need for revenge. PTI should see where it’s going with this incitement to violence. No one is above the country or law.”
-Senator Sherry Rehman

“Right now, Imran Khan is Pakistan’s moral sovereign. This status is more powerful and influential than any other position or institution and not held by any political leader in the country’s 75-year history. Here is how I think it has happened and what it means for PK’s future.”
-Ali Usman Qasmi

Also read...

Sarwar Bari, Too large to manage — even by rigging
The Express Tribune, 10 May 2023
“Yesterday it was Bhutto, today it is Imran Khan, whose popularity despite all forms of oppression has peaked to an unprecedented level. In the 2018 general elections, PG between PTI and PML-N was just 17.5%. Despite rigging, PDM could win only four of nineteen seats of the Punjab by-polls held on July 22, 2022, while PTI won 15. Moreover, recent opinion polls show that PTI is far ahead of PDM. The gap is too large to manage, even through rigging.”

Editorial, Shady deal
Dawn, 11 May 2023
“THE elephant in the room cannot, and should not, be ignored. At the heart of the multibillion-rupee Al-Qadir Trust corruption case in which Imran Khan was arrested on Tuesday is property tycoon Malik Riaz and his £190m settlement with the UK’s National Crime Agency after a ‘dirty money’ probe into his assets in that country.”

Muhammad Ali Falak,How to wreck a country?
The Express Tribune, 11 May 2023
“Lastly and most importantly, while all of this is happening everyone sleeps, thinking they are the leaders of the entire world in the making and have supernatural forces on their sides; and that their friendly countries will always find ways to fill the pockets of their needy friends. This is how you wreck a country!”

Editorial, Digital backslide
Dawn, 11 May 2023
“There is little to celebrate when it comes to Pakistan’s digital front, and the future is at best uncertain, and at worst, set to devolve without comprehensive, sweeping changes in awareness, understanding and action.”

Mansoor Hassan Khan, Standing on its own feet
Dawn, 11 May 2023
“It’s not infrequent for a foreign government or MFI to pay for international lawyers who act for Pakistan. Doesn’t this practice give rise to any conflicts of interest? When would Pakistan develop local expertise in this field and also put it to use? Every successful country has done this and Pakistan cannot remain an exception — we have already paid dearly for this mistake.”




“There is little that is democratic about the manner in which the govt has chosen to act against PTI.”
   -An opinion in Dawn, ‘What next?’


Photo : Dawn

10 May 2023, Wednesday I Vol 4, No.91

Omar Cheema arrested during a raid by ACE at dawn

Petitions on Imran Khan’s expulsion as Party Leader at Lahore HC and Multiple allegations against Imran Khan by the PM of Pakistan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Omar Cheema arrested during a raid by ACE at dawn
On 10 May, Dawn reported that Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, the Former Punjab Governor and leader of Pakistan Tehreek e-Insaf (PTI), was arrested in Lahore by Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Punjab. The incident happened immediately after detaining Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister and Chairperson of PTI. A video released by Hammad Azhar, Secretary General of Central Punjab (PTI leader) on his official Twitter account, confirmed the arrest of Omar and tweeted: “Former governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema being taken... by Who? Where? On what charges?” (M Shahzad, “Former Punjab governor Omar Cheema arrested,” The Express Tribune, 10 May 2023)
Petitions on Imran Khan’s expulsion as Party Leader at Lahore HC
On 9 May, Muhammed Afaq, Advocate of Lahore High Court (HC), challenged Imran Khan’s position as PTI Party leader, claiming a similar case of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on a corruption charge. The case, led by Justice Abid Hussain Chattah of Lahore HC, was adjourned by reserving the verdict to be heard on May 19, 2023. The Petition also claimed the issue of directives for the nomination of a new party leader. (“Court to hear pleas for Imran’s removal as party head,” Dawn, 10 May 2023)
Multiple allegations against Imran Khan by the PM of Pakistan
On 10 May, Dawn reported the accusations on Imran Khan by Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif. Sharif continuously tweets about the allegations made by Imran Khan and several charges of manipulating the judiciary and ignoring facts of attacks for his own political will. He said: “I have no doubt that your politics is defined by blatant lies, untruths, U-turns, and vicious attacks on institutions.” Despite the rising chaos because of the arrest of Imran Khan, Rana Sanaullah, Interior Minister and Azam Nazeer Tarar, Law Minister, proclaimed the evidence of Mr Khan’s corruption practices and further stated that Government has no control over National Accountability Bureau (NAB). (Syed Irfan Raza, Iftikhar A. Khan, “PM accuses PTI chief of vilifying army, pressuring judiciary,” Dawn, 10 May 2023)
Deliberations on Introduction of Parliament Contempt Bill, 2023
On 9 May, the Contempt of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) Bill, 2023, a pivotal private member’s bill, was introduced in the Parliament by Rana Qasim Noon, PTI dissident and Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee. Under the Parliament Contempt Bill, the House can punish any person, persons, or entity or call forth any government or state official that commits disrespect to parliament, with six-month imprisonment and a fine of PKR 10 million. Further, the Parliament has listed clauses containing the grounds for contempt and Constitution for Contempt Committee. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the Speaker of NA, referred the bill to the standing committee for further consideration, but Opposition Leader Raja Riaz opposed the action. Additionally, various other Lawmakers expressed their views on reconsidering the bill by Standing Committee. (Naveed Butt, Zulfiqar Ahmad, “Parliament contempt bill introduced in NA,” Business Recorder, 10 May 2023, Amir Wasim, “ ‘Contempt of parliament’ bill lands on NA,” Dawn, 10 May 2023)

Pakistan's state-run enterprises face an economic crisis and high debt
On 9 May, the State Bank of Pakistan reported abnormally high credit growth to state-run enterprises compared to previous years, reflecting their critical economic conditions. Pakistan International Airlines and power sector companies were among the entities borrowing heavily due to losses. The increasing circular debt is creating severe problems like the current account deficit, where at the beginning of the fiscal year it was PKR 2.253 trillion and raised by PKR 419 billion. In addition, many Chinese power companies have been asking the government to pay their dues. Loss-making public companies have over 45,000 employees, and despite past and present governments not resolving the issue, they continue to receive taxpayers’ money to avoid political backlash. (Shahid Iqbal, “Bank lending to state-run firms jumps to Rs282bn,” Dawn, 10 May 2023)
Pakistan's external debt payment is expected until June, uncertain beyond without the IMF program
On 9 May, Grace Lim, a sovereign analyst stated that Pakistan is expected to be able to pay its external debts for the rest of the fiscal year until June. He added: “However, Pakistan’s financing options beyond June are highly uncertain. Without an IMF programme, Pakistan could default given its very weak reserves,” The country entered into a $6.5 billion program with the IMF in 2019. The program's ninth review for the release of $1.2 billion has been pending since October last year as the government has been unable to meet some of the prerequisites set by the lender. In the absence of an agreement with the IMF, Pakistan may rely more heavily on China, and international oil transactions are increasingly shifting from US dollars to other currencies, particularly the Chinese yuan. Despite difficulties, Pakistan is striving to achieve financial stability. (“Pakistan could default without IMF bailout, warns Moody’s,” Dawn, 10 May 2023)
Pakistan's failure to reach IMF agreement could increase reliance on China, warns federal minister
On 8 May, while speaking on Dawn News show “Live with Adil Shahzeb,” Pakistan's federal minister for power, Khurram Dastgir Khan warned that Pakistan's failure to reach a staff-level agreement with the IMF could lead to the country's increased reliance on China. He suggested that without an IMF programme, Pakistan could default due to its very weak reserves. The country's foreign exchange reserves are at precariously low levels of USD 4.46 billion. Inflation surged to a record 36.4 per cent in April due to the rupee's depreciation and rising administered prices. However, the minister said that Pakistan would fulfil all its financial commitments with the help of China or other friendly nations. (Adil Shahzeb, "Minister sees Pakistan’s dependence on China rising if IMF deal fails to materialise,” Dawn, 10 May 2023)

Pakistan stock market drops after Imran Khan's arrest
On 9 May, the stock market in Pakistan had some buying interest at first, but then the news of former prime minister Imran Khan's arrest caused investors to lose confidence and caused the market to drop sharply. The KSE-100 index went down by 1.09 per cent from the previous session. The overall trading volume increased by 13.4 per cent to USD 203.1 million shares, and the traded value went up 22.4 per cent to USD 20.5 million. Sectors that contributed the most to the index performance were commercial banking, exploration and production, fertilizer, investment banking, and technology and communication. Some companies saw their share prices increase, while others saw a decline. Foreign investors purchased shares worth USD 60,000. (“Equities melt amid rising political tensions, Dawn, 10 May 2023)

China exports rise at a slower pace in April 
On 9 May, according to official statistics issued, China's export growth slowed down in April compared to the previous month as the world's second-largest economy struggles to fully recover from strict Covid controls. Global inflation and geopolitical tensions with the United States has weakened demand for Chinese products, leading to a decline in export growth. China's zero-Covid policy caused five straight declines in exports, while domestic consumption remains subdued. Chief economist Zhang Zhiwei at Pinpoint Asset Management said: “The contraction of imports may be partly driven by the slowdown of global demand, which in turn affects China’s imports of parts and components.”( “China exports rise at a slower pace in April,” Dawn, 10 May 2023)
Trade with Afghanistan to advance peace
On 8 May, the Ameer of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan, Maulana Hamidul Haq Haqqani stated that the improvement in Pakistan-Afghan relations would help to bring about peace in both nations and beneficial developments in the economic standing of both peoples. He also stated that friendship between Pakistan and Afghanistan would guarantee a secure path from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Central Asia, Russia, and Europe. Afghan Foreign Minister, Amir Muttaqi stated that his visit's objectives were to end miscommunication and advance political and interregional cooperation. (“Trade with Afghanistan to promote peace,” The Express Tribune, 9 May 2023)
Following Imran's arrest, the US and the UK support the "rule of law"
On 9 May, the top diplomats of the United States and the United Kingdom urged Pakistan to uphold the "rule of law" after the former prime minister Imran Khan's arrest sparked widespread unrest.US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly expressed their desire for Pakistan to experience peaceful democracy. Antony Blinken  in a joint news conference said “We just want to make sure that whatever happens in Pakistan is consistent with the rule of law, with the constitution,”(“US, UK back ‘rule of law’ after Imran’s arrest,” The Express Tribune, 10 May 2023)

Election funding agenda tabled in cabinet, cabinet to seek legal steps
On 10 May, the Business Recorder reported that the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the Federal Government to provide PKR 21 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan for the General Elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies. The Finance Division placed this direction before the Cabinet, which directed them to present a bill before Parliament. However, the Bill was not approved by the National Assembly. The Supreme Court summoned officials of the State Bank of Pakistan, Finance Division, and Election Commission of Pakistan and ordered the State Bank of Pakistan release the funds by April 17, 2023. The matter was then sent to the National Assembly, which rejected the motion for granting the supplementary sum. The Supreme Court ordered the government to provide the funds by April 27, 2023. (Mushtaq Ghumman, “Rs21bn funding for ECP: Cabinet resolves to take appropriate legal steps,” Business Recorder, 10 May 2023)
Four of the eight seats in the HMC are won by PPP
On 7 May, Candidates from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won four of the eight seats in the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) in the municipal elections. District Election Commissioner stated that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won two seats while the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and independent candidates each got one. Provisional results showed that PPP's candidates won the seats of chairmen and vice-chairmen in UC-5 and UC-137 in TMC Nerunkot and UC-118 in TMC Shah Latifabad. Independent candidates won the seats of chairman and vice-chairman in TMC Nerunkot's UC-17, defeating PPP's candidates Muhammad Usman Malik and Dildar Magsi. PPP, PTI, and JI elected general members in UC-58, UC-89, and UC-30 respectively.(Z Ali , “PPP wins four out of eight seats in HMC,” The Express Tribune, 10 May 2023)

Punjab, KPK: Flour millers will stage an eight-day ‘token’ strike from today
On 10 May, Business Recorder reported that flour millers from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) will observe a token strike from 10 May to 17 May, to demand that the government grant them the freedom to conduct their business and milling operations. Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Central President   stated that millers from Punjab and KPK decided to go on strike after debating the state of the wheat market and the poor policies implemented by the Punjab Food Department. Millers claim flour  and wheat prices are increasing due to wrong policies of the provincial food department, with prices in Rawalpindi reaching PKR 6,000 per maund and Lahore at PKR 4,800 per maund. (“Punjab, KPK: Flour millers to observe eight-day ‘token strike from today,” Business Recorder, 10 May 2023) 

Pakistan on Twitter

“After the arrest of Imran Khan by NAB, the reaction of Tehreek-e-Insaaf is very alarming and condemnable. Such kind of encirclement after a legal arrest has never been seen. Attacking the residences of military officials and sensitive institutions is not a protest but an attack. PTI has made a sad history.”
-Senator Sherry Rehman
“I have no doubt that your politics is defined by blatant lies, untruths, U-turns, and vicious attacks on institutions. Bending the judiciary to your whims and behaving as if rules don’t apply to you. What I said about you in my tweet is established by facts over the past few years..”
-Shehbaz Sharif
“The arrest of Imran Khan is an ax on the government's feet, the country is burning and Nawaz Shahbaz is playing flute in London. There is no historical example of people protesting outside Nawaz Sharif's house Avonfield London and outside the Pakistani Embassy. Imran's arrest could have been done from the highway.”
-Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

Also read...

Mahir Ali, A blighted kingdom
Dawn, 10 May 2023
‘Any sense of modernity was obscured by the absurdities on display both in Westminster Abbey and on the carriage journeys from and to Buckingham Palace. The route was crowded despite the drizzle and occasional downpour, yet the police deemed it prudent to pre-emptively crack down on the mere hundreds of dissidents who wore T-shirts or planned to bear placards with slogans such as ‘Not My King’ and ‘Just Stop Oil’, arresting dozens of them.’
Editorial, The die is cast
Dawn, 10 May 2023
However, removing Mr Khan from the picture solves nothing. Instead, as the protests yesterday showed, arresting him may have deeply fractured the historic compact between the people and the country’s armed forces.
Danyal Ahmed Khan, Capital violence
Dawn, 10 May 2023
A big part of the problem lies in the structure of our capital ‘authority’, which is entirely reliant on ‘acquiring’, ‘developing’ and selling plots of land for revenue — an issue which can be circumvented by the creation of a devolved local government system which has the power to raise and spend taxes. Yet again, this underscores the importance of a city run by a local government which has been elected by the vote of the people rather than an unelected bureaucracy.
Syed Akhtar Ali, KE’s petition: case for integration
Business Recorder, 10 May 2023
KE can continue to make generation investments as any other IPP. There would be freedom for other investors to enter into KE area. KE monopoly has already gone away under the privatization agreement. Some arrangement may have to be made for selling KE transmission assets to NTDC. KE’s proposal does not deal with the issue. But certainly, regulator will have to sort it out.
Editorial, Banks, not savers, get paydays from deposits?
Business Recorder, 10 May 2023
Then the ratio of current account to total deposits for HBL increased from 35 percent in June 2022 to 40 percent in March 2023. And in the cases of UBL, ABL, Bank Alfalah and Meezan, each one has a share of current account in excess of 40 percent. In a nutshell, overall industry mix is now tilted more towards the current account. That is not good, as the poor saver, even in saving and fixed deposits is getting a return of 18-20 percent whereas inflation had soared to 36 percent last month.
Sawar Bari, Too large to manage — even by rigging
The Express Tribune, 10 May 2023
“To test the authenticity of the perception that establishment never allowed political parties to grow beyond a certain level of popularity and secure sufficient majority in assemblies, I analysed results of 14 elections held since 1954. As votes are likely to be the best barometer to test the popularity of political parties, which are transformed into seats in the elected houses, the gap between winner and runner-up is taken as Popularity Gap (PG). My analysis seems to validate the public perception. Moreover, it also reveals that whenever PG between a compliant political party and an undesirable one expanded to more than 30%, conspiracy was hatched to sabotage transfer of power or deny election.”
Aftab Ahmed Khanzada, How nations develop — or fail?
The Express Tribune, 10 May 2023
“Now let’s take a look at ourselves. The important reason why our country is failing today is that we are determined to run our country on centuries-old thinking and methods. We have banned research and are not ready to adapt to new ideas. More than half of the country’s population has become physically and mentally ill. We have been completely taken over by ignorance and extremism. Those who could have fled the country have done so. Yet every day, we hear that we are a living nation.”
Sarmad Khawaja, The war of liberation
The News International, 10 May 2023
“In five decades, India’s share of world manufacturing production fell from a quarter in 1750 to less than two per cent, and per capita income, in terms of purchasing power of wheat, fell to less than what it was three hundred years earlier. The British destroyed ‘what had been a flourishing domestic and village industry,’ writes Eric Hobsbawm in ‘Age of Revolutions’.”
Nasim Zehra, Troubled Pakistan’s weighty messages
The News International, 10 May 2023
“Meanwhile, very hard work is needed by Pakistan to pull itself out of this economic mess. And no surprise that Pakistan’s strategic ally advised it openly: important to settle your internal political differences, ‘build consensus’ so there is “political stability” for Pakistanis to face their internal and external challenges. Few in Pakistan would disagree with this. But that China articulated this openly means the message was being relayed to all political players on Pakistan’s entire political horizons.And China as a close and sincere friend of Pakistan, with huge stakes in Pakistan’s stability and progress, is no less concerned about Pakistan’s self-created internal mess than most Pakistanis are.”




"Removing Mr Khan from the picture solves nothing. Instead, as the protests yesterday showed, arresting him may have deeply fractured the historic compact between the people and the country’s armed forces."
-An opinion in DawnThe die is cast '

Photo : Dawn

09 May 2023, Tuesday I Vol 4, No.90

President Arif Alvi urges state institutions to uphold the Constitution

LHC: Denies petition to reinstate the Punjab Assembly and PTI to organise a public gathering on 14 May in support of the SC’s verdict

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

President Arif Alvi urges state institutions to uphold the Constitution
On 8 May, President Arif Alvi stated that Upholding the Constitution ensures political stability and citizens' rights. He said: “The supremacy of the Constitution is vital as its pillars set out the goals for basic rights in various areas, including education, health, employment, and social and economic justice.” In his address at a ceremony held at the presidency to recognize public contribution towards social welfare, he expressed that the state is responsible for improving society through a welfare system. Additionally, highlighted the importance of Social welfare and philanthropy to address poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment. On the occasion, Arif Alvi presented acknowledgement shields to groups and people who made contributions to social welfare in their local communities. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Alvi says upholding constitution is the responsibility of all,” Dawn, 9 May 2023)
LHC: Denies petition to reinstate the Punjab Assembly 
On 8 May, LHC levied a fine of PKR 100,000 on petitioner Sharafat Ali for submitting a petition to reinstate the Punjab Assembly. Through his counsel, he contended that former chief minister Parvez Elahi had dissolved the provincial assembly unlawfully and he also urged the court to overturn the act dissolving the assembly and reinstate the legislature. The petition was dismissed by Justice Shahid Karim as being pointless and frivolous. Additionally, he fined the petitioner warning him that the amount would be enhanced if he sought an apology. (Wajith Ahmad Sheikh,“ Plea seeking Punjab PA restoration dismissed as ‘ unnecessary’,” Dawn, 9 May 2023)
KP governor holds back-door dialogue with PTI officials
On 8 May, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali stated that he hopes PTI would become flexible in its stance on the election. He claims to have held back-door meetings with the party's senior officials to address the matter and urged them to resolve the issue in the "larger interest" of the nation. He stated that the Punjab and KP assemblies were dissolved owing to Imran Khan having instructed party members to leave the National Assembly. He also met President Arif Alvi twice and called for a “collective decision” on polls. He stated about the country’s current financial position and expressed his gratitude to the Supreme Court for treating KP "leniently" concerning the elections.  (Umer Farooq, “ KP governor claims holding backdoor talks with PTI leaders,” Dawn, 9 May 2023)
PTI to organise a public gathering on 14 May in support of the SC’s verdict 
On 9 May, Dawn reported that Imran Khan would host public gatherings in all 101 union councils of Islamabad on 14 May showing support for the SC’s 4 April verdict which mandated elections commencement from the same day. Ali Nawaz Awan PTI Islamabad president, has formally requested permission to organize the "peaceful assembly" in a letter to Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon. The letter reads: "SC and the Islamabad High Court have settled that the Civil Administration shall administer in such a manner that no fundamental right of any citizen shall infringe." Awan further called out the police for poor policing and theft of vehicles and announced peaceful rallies to express solidarity with the Supreme Court. (Ikram Junaidi, “PTI plans public gatherings in all Islamabad UCs on 14th,” Dawn, 9 May 2023)
CDA calls tenders for rural development projects in Islamabad
On 9 May, Dawn reported that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in Islamabad has called tenders for 17 projects worth PKR 2.8 billion as part of a PKR 10 billion development project in rural areas. The CDA will carry out rehabilitation and upgradation work on various roads and streets, with schemes being equally distributed across all union councils in all three constituencies of Islamabad. The projects are aimed at improving basic facilities and there is no urban and rural divide, said PML-N Secretary General NA-53 Sardar Mehtab Advocate, adding that people in rural areas deserve access to all basic amenities. (Kashif Abbasi, “In a first, CDA to launch Rs10 billion project in Islamabad’s rural areas,” Dawn, 9 May 2023)
Pakistan and Afghanistan open new crossing gate to facilitate trade
On 8 May, a new crossing gate was opened at the Chaman border to help facilitate trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This new facility was jointly established by the chambers of commerce and industry of Chaman and Spin Boldak, with support from the governments of both countries. The new gate will help clear the increasing number of vehicles carrying Pak-Afghan transit trade goods faster at customs. It is located about one kilometre from the old Friendship Gate and provides a separate crossing facility for Afghan and Pakistani women. The business communities of both countries welcomed the opening of the new crossing gate, which they believe will help in smooth transit trade between the two nations. (Saleem Shahid, “New gate for transit trade opened at Chaman border,” Dawn, 9 May 2023)
Pakistan requested discounted Russian oil to explore cheaper energy options
On 9 May, Business Recorder reported that Pakistan has placed an order for discounted Russian oil, which will arrive within a month, according to Minister Musadik Malik. The order will be assessed to determine whether Russia can provide a cheaper energy source for Pakistan, which imports 84% of its petroleum products, predominantly from Gulf Arab allies. Pakistan has been transparent about its oil dealings with Moscow, which are far less than those of China or India, both of which have bought Russian oil at a discount, leading to concerns about New Delhi's warming relationship with Washington. Pakistan seeks to meet its green energy targets, generate 30 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030, and explore shale liquid natural gas. (“Pakistan buys Russian oil but sees diversified future,” Business Recorder, 9 May 2023)
Afghanistan urges dialogue between Pakistan and TTP
On 9 May, Business Recorder reported that the Taliban's diplomat, who recently visited Pakistan with a high-level delegation, has urged both Pakistan and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to resolve issues through talks to avoid bloodshed and insecurity. He also participated in the 5th China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Dialogue and stated that the three countries would not allow anybody to use their respective countries against the others. He denied the presence of any terrorist organization in Afghanistan, claiming that Afghanistan "successfully" achieved peace after 44 years. The interim Afghan government desires enhanced cooperative relations with its neighbours and regional countries based on equality and mutual respect. Additionally, he said that tremendous opportunities exist to increase the trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan from the current USD 2.4 billion to USD 3 billion next year through joint investment for mutual benefit. (Ali Hussain, “Afghanistan wants Pakistan, TTP to hold talks,” Business Recorder, 9 May 2023)
Pakistan is not on IMF’s Agenda owing to the incomplete ninth review
On 9 May, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board published a meeting scheduled for 11, 15 and 17 May 2023, as part of the Fund’s increased transparency. Pakistan isn’t on the list, as the ninth review was in process. Therefore, the tenth review, which was scheduled for 03 February 2023, was also delayed. Accordingly, IMF declared that Fund would cooperate with Pakistani authorities to complete the ninth review with acquired necessary finance. (Tahir Amin, “IMF’s May meetings: Pakistan not on agenda as bailout remains stalled,” Business Recorder, 9 May 2023)
KP: Shehbaz Sharif issued directives to encounter the flour crisis
On 9 May, Shehbaz Sharif ordered taking measures to address the flour crisis in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Despite being in the UK, Shehbaz directed this issue through telephone with his Special Assistant and PML-N President Amir Muquam. Muquam, an Advisor to the PM on federal departments, stated that the problem of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the problem of Pakistan Problem. (“PM orders urgent steps to address flour crisis in KP,” Business Recorder, 9 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“ISPR has issued a shocking press release, if Imran Khan believes that any officer is involved in the murderous attack on him, he should be satisfied through an independent and transparent investigation that this is not the case, but refuses to investigate the allegation and With such a press release, you are telling that you are above the law in Pakistan, such behavior is destructive for nations.”
-Ch Fawad Hussain

“Pakistan Army is rightly concerned and angry. Too long  Imran Khan naming names levelling malicious unfounded charges against serving officers including 2 successive COAS. This has now become corner stone of his political campaign. Running this sort of campaign from closed doors of his Lahore residence will never yield any results. Nation can't afford further rubbing of salt on its wounds. In any case when push come to shove nation will protect the image of its army and IK's anti campaign will face massive defeat.”
-Kamran Khan 

“13 parties taxed 170 billion rupees on the poor in 13 months, caused 50% inflation and got nothing from the IMF. In the agenda of the IMF on May 17, Pakistan has a flag, foreign exchange reserves and imports are decreasing, business is disrupted.”
-Sheikh Rashid Ahmed  

Also read...

Arifa Noor, Insecurity of violence
Dawn, 9 May 2023
“Can one hope that, if the violence exacerbates, the reaction is not a knee-jerk reaction; ie, another operation? Instead, solutions should be found by trying to understand the root cause of the ailments, be it in Karachi or the northwestern areas.”

Dr Moonis Ahmar, Taliban’s legitimacy predicament
The Express Tribune, 9 May 2023
“In order to ensure that Afghanistan should be part of the 21st century, and not the 10th, not only Taliban but also other stakeholders in the country should start the process of dialogue meant to establish lasting peace and stability and pave the way for economic, human and social development so as to better the present and future of the Afghan people. For the last 45 years, Afghanistan has been in turmoil. It’s about time its citizens got a break from their violent past.”

Rashid Javaid Rana, Escaping taxes
Dawn, 9 May 2023
“Taxation, by and large, is considered a byproduct of economic activity. Without understanding the symbiotic relationship between the state and the individual, we cannot evolve a culture of taxation in the country. Arguably, the state has provided security, identity, education, health and other rights to most of the people. But we are in the habit of using state institutions as a punching bag to vent our grievances, without understanding their budgetary constraints. Instead, let us prove our resilience by contributing to the national exchequer by filing our taxes and then expect quality services from the institutions.”

Editorial, Trilateral talks
Dawn, 9 May 2023
“The more pragmatic actors within the Afghan Taliban must prevail on their hard-line leadership and convince them that the country can only advance when all Afghans, including the female population, have a say in governance, and when fundamental rights are protected, while the international community must assure Afghans that it will help them get through these difficult times.”

Editorial, ‘Duty, not choice’
Dawn, 9 May 2023
“How can one expect stability to return to a country where the rules upholding its political order are being subverted on a whim? The PDM project should not continue to hold the electoral process hostage. It has been amply warned.”

Muhammad Wajahat Sultan, Building trust amid post-truth infodemics
The Express Tribune, 9 May 2023
“In Pakistan, Digital Rights Foundation’s ‘Hamara Internet’ campaign has been considered vital to combating misinformation. This campaign has played a critical role in promoting media literacy and identifying different prisms to sieve false information. Such initiatives should be embraced and encouraged.”





“Often those who take extraordinary risks to leave the country are viewed as foolish or ungrateful.
They are neither.”
-An opinion in The Express Tribune, ‘A journey of exploitation,’’


Photo : Dawn

08 May 2023, Monday I Vol 4, No.89

CJP: Duty of the state to hold election within 90 day period

Marriyum Aurangzeb: Arrest of Imran Khan would solve the Pakistan's problems and Imran criticised for his anti-army rant by Shehbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari

PR Daily Brief |

CJP: Duty of the state to hold election within 90 day period
On 7 May, CJP Umar Ata Bandial reiterated that Punjab elections must be held within 90 days of the stipulated period since the dissolution of the government. Bandial said: “If it says 90 days for holding elections, it is our duty to say that and not our choice, instead of finding a reason why we should avoid saying that.” The ruling coalition looks to hold elections simultaneously across the province which has been actively opposed by the PTI. CJP also urged against PTI rallies showing support for him and said:“Please don’t say that you support us. I’m just one of the members of the Supreme Court. You must support the Supreme Court if you stand up for the law and the Constitution and not [for] any individual.”(Amjad Mahmood,“ Election within 90 days is the duty, not choice: CJP,”Dawn 8 May 2023 )

Marriyum Aurangzeb: Arrest of Imran Khan would solve the Pakistan's problems
On 7 May, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan will solve the country's issues. Marriyum iterated that the former prime minister should be punished for corruption, and the extremist attitudes leading to mob lynchings. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's successful visit to India for the SCO meeting and response to his Indian counterpart has caused Mr.Imran Khan to lose his cool and become intolerant of the country, stated Marriyum. She urged Imran Khan to appear before the courts and face cases instead of agitation on the streets. (“ Minister sees Imran’s arrest as a solution to all problems,” Dawn 8 May 2023)

Imran Khan urges the ticket holder to get voter support
On 7  May, The PTI chairman, Imran Khan urged the party's ticket holders to increase turnout in their individual constituencies in order to create momentum for the elections and finalized the schedule for his public appearances in Punjab. PTI is scheduling public meetings in Muridke, Gakhar Mandi, Lalamusa, Gujar Khan, and Attock to counter the PML-N. Imran Khan thanked the public for demonstrating support for the Supreme Court in the Punjab elections. He also stated that the Constitution has called for polls within 90 days of the dissolution but the government was defying both constitutional provision as well as the apex court verdict on the issue. (Amjad Mahmood, “Imran asks ticket-holders to mobilize voters,” Dawn 8 May 2023 )

Imran criticised for his anti-army rant by Shehbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari
On 8 May, The Express Tribune reported that the two leaders PM Shehbaz Sharif and former president Asif Zardari  criticised Imran Khan in a Tweet for making irrational accusations against a military official, referring to this outburst as an "actual attack on the Pakistan Army." In their separate statements, the two leaders stated that leveling allegations for political gains is “highly condemnable”. Additionally, they also accused the former prime minister of trying to defame institutions. (“Imran censured over anti-army tirade,” The Express Tribune 8 May 2023)

The center can stop funding projects in the province
On 8 May, Dawn reported that the Centre considers ending provincial development projects and focusing on 5Es in PSDP. The planning and development ministry has requested the prime minister's consent to limit provincial development projects in the PSDP 2023-24, with a focus on those of strategic importance. The decision was made at a meeting presided over by Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal . Federal funding to provincial projects increased to PKR 330 billion in 2022, owing to the devolution of 16 federal ministries and development projects. The financial burden on the federal budget increased, leaving limited fiscal space for national importance projects. The government's debt servicing cost has increased significantly, impacting development spending as fiscal space is reduced. (Khaleeq Kiani,“Centre may stop financing provincial projects ,”Dawn 8 May 2023)

CDA attempts to clear land in sector F-11, faces compensation and possession issues
On 7 May, the Capital Development Authority(CDA) has been trying to clear a piece of land in sector F-11 in Islamabad since 2011 as they still face issues with compensation claims from locals. Recently, the CDA cleared various stays and conducted operations to clear the areas. Over 100 original allottees also filed cases against the CDA for getting possession of plots. The CDA, backed by policies and local administration, demolished around 100 houses and structures in the area. Additionally, they will restart the operation if people do not remove their structures. It will submit a report to the IHC regarding operations and the overall status of the sectors F-11. They also  plan to carry out necessary development work in the area and hand over plots to allottees. (Kashif Abbasi,“Around 100 illegally-built structures demolished in Islamabad’s F-11,” Dawn, 8 May 2023)

Rescue-1122 urges farmers to be careful during the wheat harvesting season
On 8 May, Business Recorder reported that Rescue-1122, a rescue service in Pakistan, has urged farmers to be careful during the wheat harvesting season to avoid accidental fires. An advisory was issued where farmers should not smoke near crops and avoid burning wheat residues that can cause nearby crops to catch fire. In case of fire, farmers should call the rescue helpline immediately to prevent it from spreading. Farmers should also cover their mouth and nose while harvesting and use new bags to store wheat produce while conducting anti-germ and antivirus sprays in their godowns. (“Farmers urged to take preventive steps during wheat cultivation,” Business Recorder, 8 May 2023)

Tribal leaders in Parachinar protest after the killing of teachers and demand justice
On 8 May, Dawn reported that following the death of five teachers and three other people on 4 May in Parachinar. Tribal leaders from the Turi Bangash tribe organized a protest, denying that the killings were due to a land dispute and demanding that the government register cases against school employees who were present during the shootings. The leaders also condemned the apathy of education officials and threatened a protest movement if the killers were not punished. Meanwhile, a peace jirga was held to establish lasting peace in the district, attended by government officials and tribal leaders. The jirga emphasizes the need for severe punishment for the killers and investigations into the school staff and employees but urges that the matriculation exams continue. (Javid Hussain, “Turi Bangash tribesman rally against Parachinar killings,” Dawn, 8 May 2023)

Pakistan and Afghanistan discuss peace, trade and connectivity in bilateral meeting
On 8 May, Dawn reported that Pakistan Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, met with Afghanistan acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, to discuss important issues like peace, security, trade and connectivity. Both sides agreed on the importance of removing trade obstacles to increase regional economic integration and connectivity. The Afghan delegation is on a four-day visit to Pakistan and participated in the 5th China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Foreign Minister’s Dialogue. The three countries agreed to deepen political engagement, and counterterrorism cooperation, and enhance trade, investments and connectivity under the trilateral framework. They also agreed to maintain good integrity and resolve differences and disputes through equal  relations and mutual trust, respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial consultation. (“Bilawal, Muttaqi agree to enhance counter-terror coordination,” The Express Tribune, 8 May 2023)

Mushaal Hussein Mullich's allegations over India, urges G20 members to boycott the event
On 7 May, Mushaal Hussein Mullich, the wife of Yasin Malik, a Hurriyat leader currently in jail, urged world powers and UN bodies to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir. She has called on G20 nations to boycott the event in Srinagar, Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, criticizing that the Indian government turned the region into a garrison city. She alleged that India is creating a false impression of normalcy in the region by renovating Srinagar ahead of the G20 meeting. Mushaal reiterated that India’s denial of the self-determination rights of Kashmiris should be noticed by countries. (“Mushaal urges G20 to boycott Srinagar moot,” Business Recorder, 8 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“Let us be clear: we are going through a period of constitutional defiance & fraud like no other in our history. Elections within 90 days of dissolution is the basic democratic right of the people that is being denied. This denial is not justified by any other wrong in the past.”
-salman akaran raja

“ICT police led by a crooked IG, are cracking down on PTI pol activity when national elections are only few months away. However, when a movement has youth like Afzal Khan, our F10 UC Chairman, as one of our emerging young leaders, then police brutality only strengthens our resolve.”
-Imran Khan

“The statements of Shahbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari are surprising, these two leaders standing on the crutch of the establishment do not realize what they are doing, every element of the rule of law has been buried in this country. Investigation of the named accused is fundamental, denying it is tantamount to burying the law.”
-Ch Fawad Hussain

Also read...

Asfand Yar Warraich, Supreme mess
Dawn, 8 May 2023
“This is the true state of our judicial system. A mess of some very supreme proportions. Perhaps it is time for a full court meeting after all? Their lords-and-ladyship should sit together — as equals — and decide their future course by majority. Accountability must begin at home. Elections must always happen at their constitutionally designated times.”

Shahid Javed Burki, Pakistan and the world debt problem
The Express Tribune, 8 May 2023
“There is pressure being exercised by Washington to have Pakistan leave China’s orbit and be more independent in shaping its foreign affairs. It would be a great mistake if Islamabad succumbs to that pressure and distances itself from Beijing. Not only that approach would make it difficult to service the large amount of loans it has secured from China-based institutions, it will also lose the position it now occupies in developing land-based commerce with the landlocked countries to its north. CPEC is a way to take advantage of Pakistan’s location.”

Abubakar Riaz and Arslan Mahmood Goraya,Bias and recusal
Dawn, 8 May 2023
“Therefore, we need to formulate a specific procedural law on recusal, at the heart of which must lie an instruction: judges cannot transform the last resort of recusal into a soft option that allows them to evade their duty but at the same time they must recuse themselves if their presence on the bench affects the impartiality of proceedings. After all, justice must not only be done, it must also be seen to be done.”

Maleeha Lodhi,Squandered opportunity
Dawn, 8 May 2023
“Far from ending the ongoing political crisis, it will set the stage for an even bigger one later with more profound consequences for the country’s economic and political stability.”




“THE enemy of my enemy is my friend, goes the ancient proverb which likely explains many an improbable alliance...”
-An opinion in Dawn, ‘ An unlikely nexus 


Photo : Dawn

06 May 2023, Saturday I Vol 4, No.88

Imran Khan declares the need for unity against the “mafia” in Pakistan.

Senate approves SC Review of Judgment of Order Bill 2023, where SC can review its verdicts and probes.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan calls for unity against government “mafia” in Pakistan.
On 6 May, Dawn reported that Imran Khan has called on the nation to unite against “the mafia’ in the government and to ensure that people’s fundamental rights are respected. He announced four rallies in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar to show solidarity with the constitution, Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Khan accused the incumbent government of imposing the “might is right’ law and violating the Constitution by not holding the election on 14 May in Punjab. He also alleged that the Sharif and Zardari families looted the country. He pointed out that despite the robust inflow of dollars the economy is shattered: “in the absence of political stability because the incumbent government did not call elections despite commitments”. (Mansoor Malik, “Hit Streets today to support judiciary, Imran tells nation,” Dawn, 6 May 2023).

Pakistan Parliament passes Supreme Court review bill despite the opposition from PTI senators
On 5 May, Senate passed a bill called the Supreme Court (Review of Judgement and Orders) Bill 2023, despite opposition from the PTI senators. The bill aims to give the Supreme Court more power to review its own decision and it allows for a meaningful review of the apex court’s judgment and orders. This means that a review petitioner can appoint any advocate of the Supreme Court of the aggrieved party against whom an order under Article 184(3) was given prior to its commencement, provided that the review plea is filed within 60 days of the bill’s passing. The bill will also set the limitation of filing a review petition within 60 days of the original order’s passing. The bill’s passing was met with PTI senators' opposition, saying it disrespected the court. However, the bill passed with a majority vote. (Nadir Guramani, “Senate passes bill linked to right of appeal in suo motu cases amid opposition uproar,” Dawn, 5 May 2023)
Pakistan is slowly marching to stability, Ishaq Dar assures investors in Dubai
On 5 May, Pakistan’s finance minister with a delegation of secretaries from the government met with a renowned group of investors led by Imran Zaidi of JP Morgan Dubai in UAE. The finance minister shared the country’s economic outlook and asserted that despite the challenging economic situation, the government was steering the economy towards stability and growth. The finance minister appreciated the delegation’s positive intentions for the economic prosperity of Pakistan. (“Dar tells representatives of global investors: Country slowly but surely moving towards stability,” Business Recorder, 6 May 2023)
ADB to revamp country strategy for Pakistan, expected to orient towards climate security and disaster preparedness
On 5 May, during a press briefing on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 56th Annual Meeting in South Korea’s Incheon, ADB Director General for Central and West Asia shared that the ADB was working with the Pakistani government to explore an energy transition mechanism. He added that priority sectors for financing included transport, energy, urban development, climate resilience, disaster preparedness and food security. He also shared that ADB has raised its ambition to deliver at least USD 100 billion in climate financing across Asia and the Pacific for 2019-2030. (Amin Ahmed, “ADB says next 5-year partnership plan for Pakistan expected to build foundation for increased climate portfolio,” Dawn, 6 May 2023)
IMF clarifies the government’s claim to have met all necessary conditions for the disbursement of tranche under the current EFF
On 5 May, IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan stated that IMF is seeking credible financing plans up to the next fiscal year. Pakistan is to pay USD 6 billion to bridge the financing gap till June this year. Saudi Arabia and UAE have assured support for USD 3 billion but there are no firm assurances for the rest of the loans. Nathan Porter was quoted as saying that IMF also needs clarification on a credible financing plan for the July-December period for the next fiscal year. Pakistan is expected to repay debt and interest of USD 11 billion in the first half of the next financial year and hence IMF is seeking details and plans in the budget for the next year as well. Several ministers were quoted by The Express Tribune, who complained that IMF is changing goals posts as per its convenience. (Shahbaz Rana, “IMF negates govt’s claim of meeting loan conditions,” The Express Tribune, 6 May 2023)
Foreign Ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan hold talks on regional peace and cooperation
On 6 May, Dawn reported that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari confirmed in a tweet that he would meet his Afghan and Chinese counterparts to discuss regional peace and prosperity. China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who is on a two-day- visit, met with Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi and both sides reaffirmed their commitment to deepen bilateral cooperation in trade, economy, culture and defence. They stressed the need for increasing bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture and tourism. Meanwhile, acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi arrived on a four-day visit to participate in the fifth China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue and some bilateral meetings. (Kashif Abbasi, “Chinese, Afghan FMs arrive in Islamabad for trilateral talks,” Dawn, 6 May 2023)

Private firms import LPG to Chaman
On 6 May, Dawn reported that a shipment of LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) arrived in Chaman, Pakistan. The first three tanks arrived last week, with 24 more crossing the border on 2 May and more expected to arrive in the coming days. The LPG was imported by a private firm Apple Gas Company. (“More LPG tankers arrive in Chaman,” Dawn, 3 May 2023)

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Acknowledged UK support during the floods 
On 5 May, PM Shehbaz Sharif interacted with King Charles III and PM of Britain Rishi Sunak at the coronation of the new King. He also conveyed his gratitude to the United Kingdom for its extraordinary support in the aftermath of last year's devastating floods in Pakistan. Shehbaz suggested the need for bilateral relations between both countries in various fields. He also recommended the formation of a joint panel led by the two nation's leaders. King Charles III and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak both expressed an interest in further improving bilateral ties between the two nations(“PM hails UK support during floods”, The Express Tribune, 5 May 2023)

The Supreme Court will issue appropriate orders on single-day polls
On 5 May, CJP Umar Ata Bandial said “The court was exercising restraint and that no one should misunderstand our intentions but insisted that an appropriate order would be issued in the election schedule case”. As the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition expre­ssed its willingness before the court that it was ready to sit and continue negotiations again, PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated he saw nothing coming out of the negotiations. He also accused the government of pushing the country toward a constitutional crisis. Referring to the government’s contention about the country’s financial health CJP Umar Ata Bandial stated that the government opposition should be serious because of the constitutional crisis along with economic, political, social, and security crises. ( “ Apex court to issue “ ‘appropriate’ order on Single -day polls”Dawn, 6 May 2023)

ISLAMABAD: TTP is forging a nexus with Baloch separatists militant groups 
On 6 May, Dawn reported that Experts at a debate cautioned that the proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was forming links with Baloch separatists and local terrorist organizations located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. This would likely aggravate the country's already fragile security situation where Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) carried out terrorist strikes in Pashtoon districts of Balochistan for the first time (Iftikhar A. Khan,“ TTP forgoing nexus with Baloch separatists militant groups: experts”, Dawn, 6 May 2023)

KARACHI: The government denies the wheat crisis in Sindh due to rising flour prices.
On 6 May, Dawn reported that the price of flour has risen in Karachi whereas the provincial food minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla refuted. He stated that there is no crisis of wheat in the province and the government has procured 1.4 million metric tons of wheat to avoid shortage. He also exchanged strong words with Khurram Sher Zaman, the parliamentary leader of PTI, about the wheat issue. Mukesh Kumar Chawla stated the department had collected over PKR 3 in 2017, including PKR 1.78 billion from Karachi. (Tahir Siddiqui ” Govt denies wheat crisis in Sindh amid escalating flour prices “, Dawn 6 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“It is deeply troubling how the PTI tried to generate a controversy around Pakistan's participation in the SCO's meeting in India. It shouldn't be surprising though as Imran Niazi has had no qualms about imperiling the country's vital foreign policy interests in the past too. This is what they did when they were in power. For the PTI, everything including the conduct of interstate relations is a plaything.”
-Shehbaz Sharif
“Overall FM Zardari was impressive in his interview on India Today. He was particularly superb on Kashmir. Glad he also raised Kulbhushan Jhadav and Samjhota Express blast. The way Jaishankar reacted in his press conference only reflected his hubris and frustration.”
-Abdul Basit
“Restrictions have been imposed on rallying solidarity with the constitution at various places including Islamabad. The question arises, if the people of Pakistan express solidarity with the constitution, why is the current government afraid of it? The reason is that the present government is ruling Pakistan by trampling the constitution and they are now afraid of the rule of the constitution.”
-Ch Fawad Hussain

Also read...

Usama Khilji, Bulldozed in the capital
Dawn, 6 May 2023
“The PDM government must take back the cases against those who demonstrated against such illegal demolitions, release detainees from Adiala jail, and ensure that there are no forced evictions without compensation and resettlement of the inhabitants of these lands. A judicial inquiry and fact finding by a parliamentary committee is essential to set matters right. Housing is the right of every Pakistani and must be protected.”
Farrukh Khan Pitafi, India Pakistan: secret career of a dream
The Express Tribune, 6 May 2023
“Pakistan, too, can benefit from a normalisation of relations. I can’t be too sure of the exact timeline, but I have it on good authority, and that too from the other side of the border, to expect big things within the next six months.”
Ahmer Bilal Soofi, China or the US?
Dawn, 6 May 2023
“Pakistan has not been obstructive at all towards any investments from the American business community. Yet little has arrived over the years. Even today, despite the absence of treaties, US companies are more than welcome to invest in acquiring concessions, form joint ventures and bid under public-private partnership under federal and provincial laws or even under local government laws.”
Andrew Dalgleish, King Charles coronation and our CW connections
The Express Tribune, 6 May 2023
“Pakistan is the fifth largest ‘young country’ in the world with around 63% of the population aged between 15 and 33. The Commonwealth has a young population too: over 60%, some 1.5 billion people, of the Commonwealth’s population are under 30.”



“Every time the elusive IMF deal seems within reach, a new hurdle crops up.”
-An opinion in Dawn, ‘New IMF hurdle


Photo : Dawn

05 May 2023, Friday I Vol 4, No.87

Shehbaz Sharif expresses concerns against the "double standards" of the Judiciary.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Goa for an SCO meeting aiming to engage in bilateral relations with his counterparts.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
Shehbaz Sharif stressed the need for state institutions to remain within their legal purview
On 4 May, PM Shehbaz Sharif visited Nawaz Sharif resident to address the press outside criticising the Judiciary’s “double standards,” and stressing the need to respect the supremacy of the parliament and constitution. He insisted that all state institutions should stay within their legal limits and fulfil their roles and said: “This is how Pakistan and its people will prosper. But double standards, wherever they are, are not healthy for any society.” Shehbaz Sharif visited London to attend King Charles's coronation and made a pit stop to discuss the ongoing political and economic crisis in Pakistan with PML-N superior Nawaz Sharif. (Atika Rehman, “PM Shehbaz calls out ‘double standards’ of judiciary,” Dawn, 5 May 2023; “Parliament’s right of legislation cannot be taken away: PM,” The Express Tribune, 5 May 2023)
PAC to probe allegation against SC judge plot
On 4 May, NA urged Public Accounts Committee to investigate the allegation against Justice Mazahar Ali Naqvi for keeping assets beyond means. It was suggested that PAC should seek the assistance of the Federal Board of Revenue and Account General Pakistan Revenue. They suggested that the investigation needs to find the source of income of the judge aiding him to acquire PKR 100 million property. (Amir Wasim, “PAC tasked to probe SC judge’s pricey plot, tax details,” Dawn, 5 May 2023)

SCBA challenges PBC’s show cause notice in SC
On 4 May, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) moved a petition to Supreme Court to quash the notice sent by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) directing lawyers to explain their defiance of the earlier PBC notices. SCBA also suspended the membership of the members of the executive committee of PBC, the press statement released by the SCBA secretary explained that the bar association stands for the rule of law, the supremacy of the Constitution, the integrity of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and for the dignity of the association. SCBA has alleged that PBC is controlled by members belonging to a certain group who are actively working against the rule of law, the supremacy of the Constitution. The issue started on 24 February when the PBC executive committee decided to change the representative to be present before SC in the suo motu case regarding a delay in Punjab and KP polls. SCBA has alleged that PBC attempts to take over the Supreme Court lawyers’ body. PBC in its response has removed the Secretary and Additional Secretary of the SCBA. (“Dispute between apex lawyers’ bodies lands at SC’s door,” Dawn, 5 May 2023, Terence J Sigamony, “SCBA suspends membership of PBC EC members,” Business Recorder, 5 May 2023)

Pakistan in its deficit of repayment of the debt to the IMF is under peer pressure
On 5 May, the Business Recorder reported that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have decreased by USD 6 million to USD 4.457 billion. The IMF is working with Pakistani authorities to conclude the stalled bailout program once the necessary financing is in place. Pakistan was required to undertake a series of steps to resume funding. The country must also make debt payments of USD 3 billion in May and June 2023?. (Bilal Memon, “IMF reiterates necessary financing condition for the completion of Pakaistan’s ninth review,” Business Recorder, 5 May 2023)

Rawalpindi is at a standstill state to its inability to retrieve funds
On 5 May, The Express Tribune reported on the insufficiency of funds faced by the present provincial setup in Rawalpindi. A senior official stated that it has become difficult to run administrative works and all the tenders have been frozen since January. Additionally, the officers had to meet all the expenses by spending money from their pockets. An attempt to seek help from the local government of Lahore to run day-to-day affairs proved unsuccessful. He stated that this situation could intensify the financial crises in the administration. (Imran Asghar, “Rawalpindi admin in dire financial straits,” The Express Tribune, 5 May 2023)

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister’s clear statement on the Visit to India
On 3 May, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari arrived in India to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting of foreign ministers and counterparts from China and Russia. He said: “I am very happy that today I have arrived here leading the delegation of Pakistan." It is the first time since 2016 that a senior Pakistani leader to visit India. There is no sign of hand-in-hand diplomatic talk between India and Pakistan. The main agenda of the meeting is to expand the group by including Iran and Belarus in this organization. (APP, Reuters, “Bilawal says ‘happy’ on rare visit to India,” Business Recorder, 5 May 2023)
Seven teachers among eight killed in a sectarian attack 
On 4 May, eight persons including five school teachers were gunned down during firing incidents in Kurram district. Upper Khurram District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Imran reported that the first shooting incident took place in the Shalozan area and the second at Teri Mengal school.   The regional commissioner Saiful Islam reported that the first person killed in the attack was a Sunni Muslim and those shot in the second attack were Shi’ite Muslims. The government reported that this incident is the result of an old land dispute in a remote” Parachinar border town, Mohammad Azam khan, the acting chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said: “ Culprits behind this heinous act will not be spared.”  (Zahid Dad “5 teachers among 8 killed in Kurram firing incidents: Police,”   Dawn, 5 May 2023)

Polling stations declared ‘highly sensitive ‘for -by-polls in Sindh’s UCs 
On May 4, a meeting to review the arrangements for the polling was held with Chief Secretary in Sindh. The meeting was informed that 292 polling stations across the province had been declared ‘highly sensitive’ in terms of security. At the meeting, the chief secretary stated that the Sindh government was completing the arrangements regarding the by-elections in the province. In a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the JI Karachi chief said: “The strong apprehensions among the contesting parties that both district and security administrations could be used by the ruling party to influence the process. (” Nearly 300 polling stations declared ‘highly sensitive’ for by-polls in Sindh’s UCs, Dawn 5 May 2023)
Balochistan government promotes the product of low water-consuming produce
On 4 May, The Express Tribune reported on the proposal by the Balochistan government to promote less water-intensive species like olives, pine nuts and pistachio owing to the current climate issues. Agriculture Minister Asadullah Baloch iterated that they promote low water-consuming produce in the colder region and they aim to divert farmers focus from just growing water-based wheat crops. (“Balochistan pushes low water consuming crops,” The Express Tribune, 4 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“IK accuses serving major general of two failed assassination attempts on his life & expecting more.clearly relations between IK and & army top brass have reached a point of no return & this adds a very dangerous dimension to the political/power equation.already the SC & govt have their own daggers drawn and we’re heading towards a total breakdown of constitutional & legal order. For IK to translate popular-politics into electoral victory he must first navigate mine field of power-politics.If khan & army don’t talk to each other then it may come down to streets talking to guns.can Pakistan afford that?”
-Mohammad Malick

“The Supreme Court should immediately stop the Chief Ministers and the Cabinet from working in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is against the principle that the constitution recognizes the government only by the elected representatives of the people.”
-Ch Fawad Hussain 

“Deeply saddened to learn of the killing of school teachers in Upper Kurram. Condolences to their families. We have been warning against the imposition of a new proxy war in Pakhtunkhwa. The massive protests against terrorism by Pashtuns have been ignored by the mainstream.”
-Mohsin Dawar 

Also read...



Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, The welfare of minorities
Dawn, 5 May 2023
“The moot point is that while we may register our protest on the US designation of Pakistan as a country of particular concern, or even ignore the contents of its report, we must pay undivided attention to the issues of minority rights. It is our civic, moral and legal duty. Each case of violence against minorities is important in its own right and reflects on the standards of our own society.”
Taimur Banday, SCO Summit: fire for hawks, olive branch for doves
The Express Tribune, 5 May 2023
“Perhaps it is time not just for Pakistan but for India too to listen to a secular and calm voice of reason, empathy and logic. This is the educated interjection and trajectory that will bode well for the success of the SCO summit and for any little hope of resumption of basic normality between Pakistan and India. Bilawal Bhutto as a dove will present an olive branch to all those who are hostile and alien to an educated and mature approach towards resolving bilateral issues.”
Nikhat Sattar, Qisas & diyat laws
Dawn, 5 May 2023
“None of these laws serve a purpose except to give a free hand to the powerful. Someone, somewhere, somehow needs to revise them and overhaul the judicial system before we all become voiceless.”
Zafar Mirza, Strengthening GPs for UHC
Dawn, 5 May 2023
“With the kind of public health crisis we have in the country, we need to pay focused policy attention to primary healthcare and GPs, and we need to learn from the experience of countries with well-developed healthcare systems.”



““It is high time an investigation homed in on the culprits behind audio leaks.”
-An opinion in Dawn, ‘No end to leaks

Photo : Dawn

03 May 2023, Wednesday I Vol 4, No.85

LHC ordered Imran Khan to appear for 121 cases petitioned against him

PTI Asad Umar sent a legal notice against JI Sirajul Haq and Low human capital could limit Pakistan’s ambition to become an upper-middle-income country: World Bank.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

LHC ordered Imran Khan to appear for 121 cases petitioned against him
On 2 May, LHC ordered Imran Khan to be present in all 121 investigation cases registered against him. The court mandated Imran Khan’s counsel to appear before the investigation team and they also refused to accept his application for interim bail. Imran Khan said: “ “I am not running away from the cases but I should have less exposure, I had earlier revealed that there would be an assassination attempt on my life and everyone saw what happened in Wazirabad.” The court informed that he can move the court to demand security, (Numan Wahab, “LHC directs Imran to join probe in all cases,” The News International, 3 May 2023)
PTI Asad Umar sent a legal notice against JI Sirajul Haq
On 3 May, Dawn reported that PTI Asad Umar petitioned against Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq claiming that he held the money of people and deposited it in banks outside of Pakistan. Umar urged that Sirajul should serve a tender and post an apology at a press conference. If not followed Umar said: “Our client shall be constrained to bring lawful actions against you in appropriate forums and manners both in the civil and criminal jurisdictions.” (Ikram Junaidi,“ Asad Umar serves legal notice on JI’s Sirajul Haq ,” Dawn, 3 May 2023)
Shehbaz Sharif informed of the regional security issues by COAS and the ISI director
On 2 May, PM Shehbaz Sharif was briefed by the COAS Asim Munir and ISI director Nadeem Anjum on regional security and the visit scheduled next week with Chinese and Afghan ministers. The PM was informed of the eastern and western border issues and the measures they are taking to combat terrorism. Asim Munir also informed about his recent visit to China aiming to strengthen their bilateral cooperation. (Malik Asad,“PM briefed on regional, national security situation,” Dawn, 3 May 2023)

CPI rises to an all-time high of 36.42 per cent
On 2 May, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed that inflation measured by Consumer Price Index has been recorded at 36.42 per cent, the highest since the data available from 1965. According to Bloomberg, Pakistan has the fastest rising prices in Asia, which have left behind even Sri Lanka where inflation was measured at 35.3 per cent in April. The ten-month July-April 2022/23 average inflation arrived at 28.23 per cent against only 11 per cent in the same period of FY22, the PBS reported. In April, core inflation in Pakistan, which excludes food and energy components, hit its highest level since 2010, rising from 18.6 per cent in March to 19.5 per cent. This increase raises the possibility of another hike in the State Bank’s discount rate, which currently stands at 21 per cent. (Israr Khan, “Back-breaking inflation surges to all-time high at 36.4pc,” The News International, 3 May 2023)
ECC approves PKR 450 million for operational requirements of ICT police
On 2 May, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet headed by the finance minister approved a summary moved by the Ministry of Interior for operational requirements of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police. The ECC meeting in the proposal was also informed that a separate case for anticipatory approval of the finance minister for procurement of jammers at a cost of PKR 50 million is being initiated by the Ministry of Interior as the same requires approval of the Austerity Committee. (Zaheer Abbasi, “ECC approves Rs450m for operational requirements of ICT police,” Business Recorder, 3 May 2023)
Low human capital could limit Pakistan’s ambition to become an upper-middle-income country: World Bank
On 3 May, Business Recorder reported on the report released by World Bank titled ‘Pakistan Human Capital Review (HCR), Building Capabilities Throughout Life’. According to the report Pakistan’s Human Capital Index (HCI) value of 0.41 is lower than the South Asia average of 0.48, and human capital outcomes are more comparable to those in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has an average HCI value of 0.40. The report also said that if Pakistan continues on its current trajectory in human capital development, its GDP per capita would grow overall by a mere 18 per cent through 2047, the 100th anniversary of its founding. (Tahir Amin, “Human Capital Index: Pakistan’s value lower than South Asia’s average: World Bank,” Business Recorder, 3 May 2023)

The eight-member bench hearing against the Practice and Procedure Bill
On 2 May, an eight-bench SC hearing was held on the Practice and Procedure Bill. CJP Umar Bandial expressed that the bill suspension was provisional in nature while refuting to form a full court. He said: “It is to be seen whether a feature [judiciary] can be changed. This is, therefore, a unique case.” The judge also noted that as part of Section 55 of the federal legislative list, it has been outlined that the parliament has limitations with their power stating: “Jurisdiction and powers of all courts, except the Supreme Court, with respect to any of the matters in this list and, to such extent as is expressly authorized by or under the Constitution, the enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and the conferring thereon of supplemental powers.” He iterated that political agencies want justice in their favour that they should follow instructions issued by the SC and that all state organs and institutions should obey. (“SC summons record of parliament proceedings,” The Express Tribune, 2 May 2023; Terence J Sigamony, “ Orders by apex court: All authorities, state organs bound to obey: CJP,” Business Recorder, 3 May 2023)

Pakistan urges rich nations to talk less and act on climate change
On 2 May, Foreign Ministry released a statement whereby foreign minister Bhutto blamed the rich nations for inducing the climate crisis and pushing poor nations to the edge of catastrophe and unimagined losses. The statement by the foreign minister mentioned untimely rains in April have created a flood-like situation in rivers and canals of different areas of Pakistan. Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman while representing Pakistan at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin said: “For our part, Pakistan is aligned with the commitments of the Paris Agreement, and we look forward to a real change in the glacial pace of climate finance, adaptation and mitigation in our collective efforts, as developing countries such as Pakistan are actually facing climate catastrophe but face significant obstacles in securing the necessary funding to meet their climate goals.” She added: “We’re in a race against time, and gatherings like these are crucial in dispelling the growing climate cynicism that has taken hold across the world, particularly among the youth.” (Imran Ayub, “Bilawal again pins climate change blame on rich nations,” Dawn, 3 May 2023)
UNSC allows Afghanistan FM to allow travel to Pakistan from May 6 to May 9
On 3 May, The News International reported that following a request by Pakistan’s UN mission during the Doha meeting on Afghanistan organized by UN Secretary-General. He will meet his Pakistani counterpart as well as the Chinese foreign minister in Pakistan by the end of the week. The foreign office did not specify the date but explained that the Afghani foreign minister will lead a comprehensive political and business delegation. According to the foreign office of Afghanistan, FM will hold comprehensive bilateral talks on political, Pakistan-Afghanistan economic relations, regional stability and transit. (Mariana Baabar, “UN Security Council allows Afghan FM to travel to Pakistan,” The News International, 3 May 2023)
Punjab to lose eight NA under newly conducted digital census
On 3 May, The News International reported that due to the declining population share of Punjab province, the province may lose eight national assembly seats at the gain of Balochistan. The national daily quoted a report by senior journalist Tahir Mehdi for the digital news organization Lok Sujag. The seat share for the province will come down to 133 from 141, Mehdi explained to The News that the rate of population growth in Punjab is slower now. Commenting on population growth in Balochistan he said: “In Balochistan, the growth rate has been phenomenal. Punjab’s population from 2017 to 2023 has fallen by 6.0 per cent whereas Balochistan’s population from 2017 to 2023 has increased by nearly 63 per cent. The reasons for that could be that either in 2017 the Balochs were undercounted and now they have been counted right. Or in this 2023 census, they have been overcounted.” (Zebunissa Burki, “Punjab may lose eight NA seats under new census: report,” The News International, 3 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“Tehreek-e-Insaf is submitting a detailed report of negotiations with the PDM alliance in the Supreme Court today, requesting that the Supreme Court implement its order regarding the Punjab Assembly elections.”
-Ch Fawad Hussain
“The month of April was the month of the highest inflation rate in the history of Pakistan. One year after the end of Imran Khan's government, the rate of inflation has increased 3 times. This country has never seen such a huge economic disaster.”
-Asad Umar
“A humble suggestion: The Chief Justice today negotiates with his fellow judges to find a solution to the disputes so that our politicians can learn how to solve problems through negotiations.”
-Saleem Safi

Also read...

Zahid Hussain, Talks to nowhere
Dawn, 3 May 2023
“We are now witnessing a complete breakdown of the system as the ongoing power struggle threatens to bring down the entire structure. The situation is alarming, with every state institution having been sucked into a game of thrones. With Imran Khan now threatening to take to the streets, the country is on the brink of civil strife. By prolonging its stay in power, the ruling coalition is only aggravating the political and economic instability. It is best for it and the country to go for a fresh mandate. Delaying elections won’t solve anything.”
Talat Masood, Keeping in step with a changing world
The Express Tribune, 3 May 2023
“More critically, where does Pakistan stand in this global competition and what will be the state of the nation as most of the countries race ahead? Are our leaders, engaged in fighting petty battles of their own making, even conscious of these fast-changing global environment or they are living in a world of their own? Do they realise that a deeply polarised political system as ours cannot produce the responses to the mega challenges the country is facing or the pace at which the world is moving?”
Editorial, Stealing land
Dawn, 3 May 2023
“The unending avarice for land in Pakistan underscores the massive and quick profits involved in the business, and the sector’s ability to hide illegal cash. Unless the real estate sector is made less lucrative through extensive documentation, the poor will continue to fall prey to such scams and lose their source of livelihood.”
Aisha Khan, Lost and damaged
Dawn, 3 May 2023
“As we approach the 28th Conference of Parties, the world would do well to remember that lofty statements and weak actions will not address pressing mitigation and adaptation challenges. We need honest stock-take and proportionate responsibility for addressing losses and damages and restoring lives. Failure will result in destabilising 75pc of the global population and sending the planet into a tailspin.”
Editorial, SCO meet-up
Dawn, 3 May 2023
“The peace process can realistically begin only after a new government takes power in Islamabad, and Indian elections are held next year, but small confidence-building measures can be implemented soon. No breakthroughs are expected in Goa, but a pleasant change in direction, and a more nuanced narrative are very much possible if both states want that.”



“The govt, regardless of its own performance, should abide by the dictates of democracy and protect journalists from harm as they write their stories.”
-An opinion in Dawn, ‘ Death and truth ’

Photo : Dawn

2 May 2023, Tuesday I Vol 4, No.84

Imran Khan is being protected by the Judicial establishment says PML-N Maryam Nawaz

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: CM demands dozens of requests to be addressed by Shehbaz Sharif and Prices for diesel were reduced by PKR 5 and kerosene by PKR 10, a huge relief for consumers

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Imran Khan is being protected by the Judicial establishment says PML-N Maryam Nawaz
On 1 May, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addressing the worker's convention stated that PTI is being protected by the Judicial establishment. She stressed that PTI wants to hold a snap election in the presence of the CJP and judges who support him as they are set to retire soon. She said: “The PTI knows if they (judges) are gone (retired) it may not win the elections.” She alleges that Imran Khan dissolved the parliament in KP and Punjab in confidence that his supporters are present at the court. Additionally, she defended the leaked private audio between CJP’s mother-in-law and PTI lawyer's wife, stating that: “Nobody has the right to tap anyone’s private conversation but a discussion in which the country’s fate is decided does not qualify as a private conversation.” She expressed that she was critical of the three-bench apex court and that SC should accept the decision of the parliament as they are the supreme body. (Zulqernain Tahir,“‘Judicial establishment’ out to rescue PTI chief: Maryam,” Dawn, 2 May 2023)
Imran Khan declares to take the streets if Punjab elections are not conducted by 14 May
On 2 May, Imran Khan declared that PTi would take on the street if the elections are not held in Punjab on 14 May as per the SC order. This comes in as PTI representatives are holding talks with PML-N and in prior meetings suggested the proposal by PTI as “impractical.” Where Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said: “if negotiations failed because general elections may be “delayed for a year under a constitutional provision.” Imran Khan stated that they won't be trapped and said: “The PTI will not get itself trapped in the ‘imported government’ plan of holding elections in September.” Iterating that they would take the streets if their solution for dissolving assemblies is not adhered to. (Mansoor Malik, “Imran warns of protests if polls not held on May 14,” Dawn, 2 May 2023)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: CM demands dozens of requests to be addressed by Shehbaz Sharif
On 2 May, Business Recorder reported that the CM of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Azam Khan demanded a dozen requests from PM Shehbaz Sharif. KP is currently facing challenges to gather funds to pay its employees. Some of these demands are the release of pending PKR 49.5 billion funding for the Net Hydel Project, the levying of federal excise duty on oil and the allocation of 20 per cent liquefied petroleum gas. Shehbaz Sharif has directed Ishaq Dar to review the matter and resolve the issue. (Mushtaq Ghumman,“KP CM places key demands before PM,” Business Recorder, 2 May 2023)
Prices for diesel were reduced by PKR 5 and kerosene by PKR 10, a huge relief for consumers
On 1 May, the government announced that high-speed diesel (HSD) prices would be reduced to PKR  5 per litre. This would be largely beneficial to the agricultural sector which is heavily dependent on diesel for transportation, especially during the Kharif season. Since the announcement, the diesel would be sold for PKR 288 per litre rather than PKR 293. There has also been a reduction in the of kerosene oil to PKR 10 litres. (Zafar Bhutta, “Govt cuts price of diesel by Rs5, keeps petrol unchanged,” The Express Tribune, 1 May 2023)
Shadi Khaqan Abbasi claims that wheat funds embezzled much more than PKR 20 billion
On 2 May, The Express Tribune reported that former PM Shadi Khaqan Abbasi claims that PKR 20 billion of wheat funds were embezzled which were part of the free wheat flour distribution program and estimated to be undervalued. He said: “Recently, Rs84 billion worth of free flour was distributed. I am sorry to say that approximately Rs20 billion was looted. Look at it any way you want. What has the poor man gotten for whom you spent Rs84 billion?” He called the current government corrupt and asked them to bring forth evidence for the scandal. He also said: “There is more than 30 per cent corruption in the Punjab Food Department. This is not from today. I have been from day one when the department was formed.” (“Embezzled funds in flour scheme ‘more than Rs20b’,” The Express Tribune, 2 May 2023)
China approves the opening of the Khunjerab Pass throughout the year
On 2 MAY, Dawn reported that China has agreed to open Khunjerab Pass functional throughout the year for trade and travel. Amjad Hussain attested to the news stating that he met with Foreign Minister Bilawal Zardari Bhutto who also confirmed the initiative. He stated that the measure would bolster the economy of the locals and the entire country. (Jamil Nagri, “Khunjerab Pass to be open ‘all year round,” Dawn, 2 May 2023)
Foreign Ministry announces the evacuation from Sudan has culminated as 1,000 citizens reach Pakistan
On 2 May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the evacuation process from Sudan of 1,000 Pakistanis have ended as they are safely evacuated from the country. The operation is set to continue and evacuated citizens through Jeddah until every single Pakistani is brought back. The ministry also thanked China and Saudi Arabia for supporting the evacuation process. (“Evacuation operations out of Sudan ended: Foreign ministry,” The News International, 2 May 2023)
Two teenagers died due to floods, PM ordered support for the victims and to kickstart the rescue operation
On 1 May, Two people died due to flooding caused by heavy rains and thunderstorms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan districts. PM Shehbaz Sharif has ordered the federal department to provide the citizens with resources and aid. It is reported that 14 districts in Balochistan are impacted by the rain. In an unfortunate event, two teenagers were crushed as the wall of a house collapsed. Deputy Commissioner Murad Kasi said: “We are shifting homeless families to safe places and providing them with relief goods with the help of [Pro­vincial Disaster Manage­ment Authority] PDMA.” (Saleem Shahid, “PM orders alert as heavy rains lash the country,” Dawn, 2 May 2023)
Deputy Commissioner imposes Section 144 in Peshawar
On 1 May, Dawn reported that the Deputy Commissioner Shah Fahad of Peshawar has imposed section 144 until 3 May. The code empowers the administration to ban public activities over the threat to public peace. The deputy found that there are attempts made to “sabotage” the law and order situation. “Furthermore, he stated, “And to prevent a breach of peace, it is imperative to take extraordinary measures in the greater public interest.” (Zahid Imdad, “Section 144 imposed in Peshawar after ‘credible reports’ of attempts to sabotage law and order,” Dawn, 1 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“American commission on religious freedoms report has condemned PPP and PMLn Government on blatant use of blasphemy laws against PTI leadership. This indictment of present Govt shows world is now awakening to HR violations in Pakistan, a group of one hundred congressmen will jointly ask USA State Department to take notice of custodial torture and other HR violations in Pakistan. EU is requested to inquire into these gruesome allegations as well.”
-Ch Fawad Hussain
“Policy makers in Pakistan do not make wrong choices between China & US. For economics of Pakistan US & allies are more important than China. China is a supplier. US is a buyer. Fools annoy a buyer. If Pakistan requires exports to be above 100 bn only buyers are US & allies.”
-Syed Shabbar Zaidi
“Imran Khan is not Pakistani Erdogan. He is a Pakistani version of Hitler, a fascist and a demagogue.”
-Ahsan Iqbal
“My lawyers have sent legal notice to sirajul haq for making a false accusation that i have wealth abroad. Either he will publicly apologize or he will be taken to court. He should also publicly declare who provided him the false information.”
-Asad Umar

Also read...

Dr Moonis Ahmar, Deepening survival crisis
The Expres Tribune, 2 May 2023
“Pakistan is blessed with world’s tallest mountains, best canal system, vast deserts, fertile land, mineral and natural resources, but it lacks a leadership that is honest, hardworking and intelligent. As a result, despite its potential and positives, the situation in the country has declined in in terms of work ethics, per capita income, performance of state-owned institutions like PIA, Steel Mills, Pakistan Railways, WAPDA and so forth. When decline is allowed to continue by those who matter, the outcome is degeneration. The threat to country’s survival is quite serious.”
Editorial, Decision time
Dawn, 2 May 2023
“Improved trade with the US should be a priority, though the message from Islamabad to Washington ought to be that where containing US adversaries in the region is concerned, Pakistan is not interested.”
Lire Ersado/Koen Geven, Pakistan’s human capital opportunity
The Express Tribune, 2 May 2023
“With the pandemic and a devastating flood deepening its already poor state of human capital, Pakistan will need to take bold actions to tackle its health and education challenges and declare a human capital emergency. Sustained investments in human capital require a well-coordinated, cross-sectoral effort, and the whole of society approach, across all federating provinces and regions, with a shared vision and alignment.”
Editorial, Bumper crop
Dawn, 2 May 2023
“More importantly, the government should reduce its footprint in the market to encourage greater private participation in building storages and cold chain infrastructure to cut post-harvest waste. We need long-term, holistic policies for agriculture as a whole — not ad hoc crop-specific action — if we want to fully exploit the potential of our farm economy.”



“We are in the mess we are because the system works in mysterious ways.”
-An opinion on Dawn, ‘ The invisible problem ’


Photo : Dawn

1 May 2023, Monday I Vol 4, No.85

PML-N Javed Latif criticised ongoing negotiations between the ruling collation and PTI

“Discord leaks” of Pakistan reveal the dwindling support for west and Milers rejected the government's fixed maximum price for sugar.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
PML-N Javed Latif criticised ongoing negotiations between the ruling collation and PTI
On 1 May, PML-N leader Javed Latif criticised the negotiations between the federal government and the opposing PTI. Dialogue aims to reach a consensus over the election date issue from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Latif said no talks should be held with “terrorists and  those who want to destroy our country.” He further questioned the rationale behind the conversation and that this compromises the growth of Pakistan. (“Talks are not held with ‘terrorists’: PML-N’s Javed Latif on govt-PTI dialogue,“ Dawn, 1 May 2023)
“Discord leaks” of Pakistan reveal the dwindling support for west
On 1 May, Business Recorder reported on ”Discord Leaks” on the Pakistan radar of the international order. Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said: “No longer try to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States ” and that “should avoid giving the appearance of appeasing the West.” In a report, she stated that Pakistan’s partnership with the US is hindering its real partnership with China.  The document also reflected that Shehbaz Sharif also express concerns over the West pressuring them to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (“'Discord Leaks' reveal Pakistan’s declining support for US,“ Business Recorder, 1 May 2023)
Sindh: PPP ruling government expressed concerns over the digital census
On 30 April, the Sindh government expressed their concerns over the conduction of the digital census. Where some parts of the province are excluded if the population record is higher than a benchmark. The criticism came after Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said: “areas where population growth is not in line with normal demographic trends” and to “close the field operation in all areas exhibiting natural trends.” (Azfar-ul-Ashfaque, “First digital census set to be hit by fresh controversy,” Dawn, 1 May 2023)
Milers rejected the government's fixed maximum price for sugar
On 1 May, Business Recorder reported that the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) rejected the government-fixed retail price of sugar in the Appellate Committee. The mill's owners stated that they refuse to sell sugar costs PKR 115 to 120 for less than PKR 100. The Controller General of Prices after reviewing the province set the maximum retail price for sugar at PKR 98.82 per kg to be made available for the public. (“Millers reject govt-fixed sugar price,” Business Recorder, 1 May 2023)
HRCP is concerned that political and economic crises weakening the supremacy of the parliament
On 1 May, The Express Tribune reported on the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressing concerns over increased political polarization and urged for the need for land reforms to reduce economic inequality. Additionally, they noted the issue of the census and requested the need to investigate the problem of undercounting. They also demanded judicial accountability for the appointment of judges and the need for rehabilitation of the victims of the previous year's flood. HRCP reiterated that the political crisis has wreaked parliamentary supremacy. (“HRCP calls for ensuring supremacy of parliament,“ The Express Tribune, 1 May 2023)

Pakistan on Twitter

“Tehreek-e-Insaf wants the success of the negotiations, but it has formulated a strategy in case of failure. It cannot be that the constitution is considered as a piece of garbage and the people as insects and the Tehreek-e-Insaf sits silently. Get ready for the movement, the movement is starting tomorrow with rallies in Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar, culminating in a historic long march.”
-Ch Fawad Hussain
“ Where the three-time prime minister was disqualified for the crime of not taking salary from his son. The one who disqualified his own son is selling justice under the patronage of his father, tickets, faith, honor, judiciary, honor and dignity. Similarly, the nation is not going through punishment.”
-Ahsan Iqbal
“The Election Commission is going to conduct a unique election in which campaigning is practically not allowed. Such rules and regulations have not been seen in any election in the history of Pakistan. It seems that the whole system is afraid of the people of its own country.”
-Asad Umar

Also read...

Maleeha Lodhi, The Taliban conundrum
Dawn, 1 May 2023
“The Taliban’s inability to address Pakistan’s security concerns and lack of responsiveness on other issues, including girls’ education, suggests engagement should involve a ‘tough love’ approach that raises the costs for the Taliban of their inflexible stance.”
Gilbert F Houngbo, Time to prioritise social justice
The Express Tribune, 1 May 2023
“This is why we need a Global Coalition for Social Justice. This Coalition will create a platform to bring together a broad range of international bodies and stakeholders. It will position social justice as the keystone of the global recovery, so that it is prioritized in national, regional and global policies and actions. In sum, it will ensure that our future is human-centred.”
Umair Javed, New provinces?
Dawn, 1 May 2023
“It is also conceivable that a party with an administrative proposal to create 38 provinces wins a popular mandate for it at some point down the line. But regardless of its current intellectual merit, we are likely not there yet. A more palatable path forward in the present is to push for greater devolution through local governments within the four existing provinces.”
Huma Yusuf, The Chinese way
Dawn, 1 May 2023
“Dreams of regi­onal economic integration and vast connectivity have also been vanquished by events in Afghanistan. Beijing has also found other theatres to prove its thesis that economic integration can reduce conflict. Let’s hope for progress elsewhere, and more ideas for how our region may benefit too.”



“Two bank defaults in the United States had shaken the world financial system ”
-An opinion in The Express Tribune, ‘ Global economy is hit from several different directions ’

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