Pak Urdu Media Digest, Aug 01, 2022

NEWS

  • The Balochistan government spokesman, Farah Azim Shah, has asked the Baloch rebels to come to the negotiating table, saying that their grievances can never be addressed through force. Addressing a press conference, he said we can find a way out only through talks. He went on to say that some elements are being exploited by external forces. “We want our people to understand conspiracies behind what has been happening. Baloch are harming own national interests only”, he said referring to the brutal killing of a Colonel and his cousin at Ziarat. (Ibrat, July 31) 
  • Rallies were taken in parts of Sindh, demanding ouster of Afghans. The rallyists, led by Niaz Kalani of Jiye Sindh Quami Mahaz, raised slogans like, “Go Afghans’. The nationalists and civil society activists organized such rallies also at Tando Yam, Badah, Warah demanding that Sindh government oust illegally staying Afghans in Sindh. (Pahenji, July 31) 
  • The nationalist groups of Sindh held a protest against police high-handedness in Karachi’s Abdullah Shah Ghazi village. Led by Sindh United Party’s Jalal Mahmood Shah, a procession was taken out from Maleer to the Ghazi village. Writers, media persons, and opinion makers joined the rally in a show of solidarity with the people of Abdullah Shah Gazi village. And their war cry was “Go Afghani Go”. The nationalists demanded that demolition campaigns must stop. Also demanded action against police officials for excesses during the demolition drive.  (Pahenji, July 31)
  • Former Home Minister Shaikh Rasheed has voiced concern that Pakistan forex reserves will last only for 45 days. In a tweet, he said that even China, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia have not come to our rescue. Even the IMF bailout is still unavailable.  The no-confidence motion that unseated the Imran government was a Nawaz Sharif decision in London. Now the same Nawaz Sharif is asking his party to leave the Federal government. (Islam Daily)
  • Former Premier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, of PML(N) has a stinging reply PTI leader Shahbaz Gill, who had alleged that he had taken money from an Indian businessman. He told Gill to file a case “if there is even an iota of truth in your allegation”.  He also taunted the PTI leader as to why PTI and its mud-slinging brigade did not take any action when they were in power for four years.  He recalled that the PTI government had slapped two bogus cases against him. (Islam Daily)
  • The founder member of the PTI and the petitioner of the PTI foreign funding case Akbar Sher Babar has said that PTI received the banned foreign funds in Pakistani rupees and dollars. The total amount was about one crore dollars. According to the law if any political party receives foreign funds from a person or company then that party is declared a foreign-aided party. “I want that those who are involved in this illegal activity should be held accountable”.  Babar asked for a quick judgment on the foreign funding case of PTI. “ I hope  the Election Commission will act impartially and will not care  how many lakhs followers Imran Khan has”, he said adding that PTI had received funds from 350 foreign companies to its hidden accounts. (Intekhab Daily)
  • The leader of PDM Maulana Fazal Ur Rahman has alleged that a country in the Middle East has sponsored Imran Khan for sabotaging CPEC. Speaking at a press conference in Peshawar he said that Imran Khan ruined Gwadar and its port and destroyed the economy of the country. CPEC was the first step to get out of the slavery of IMF and America. Pakistan would have disintegrated into pieces if we had not taken the government from him. Nawaz Sharif has supported the decision that the government will complete its term. The ruling coalition will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to take important decisions about the stability of the economy. (Intekhab Daily, Jang)
  • Former federal Minister of Information, Fawad Chaudhary is tipped to become the Punjab Home Minister of Punjab. According to the private TV channel, PTI supremo, Imran Khan, discussed the issue with Chief Minister of Punjab Pervez Ilahi when he visited Lahore.  Both discussed several names for appointment as ministers. (Ausaf Daily)  
  • Hatred spread through social media has led to clashed and firing in Gilgit. Two persons were killed and many were injured.  Police have since round up 45 persons and the crackdown is continuing.  The Police Cyber cell has decided to keep a close watch on social media posts during Muharram. The Opposition in Gilgit-Baltistan has termed the crackdown as a fake show and blamed the PTI Government for the violence. Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid has, however, made it clear that no one would be allowed to spoil peace in Gilgit-Baltistan. The Ulema Peace Committee also appealed to people to maintain peace.  “Neither Sunni nor Shia should insult or hurt each other’s sentiments”. (Baad-e-Shimal, Daily K2)
  • There are more than 300 prisoners in Peshawar and other jails in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, who are awarded capital punishment but in the past five years not a single prisoner has been executed. (Aeen)
  • PTI dominated Punjab Assembly adopted a resolution asking Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to resign.  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has also decided to file a reference in the Judicial Commission against the CEC for his meeting with the leaders of the Muslim League (N), which is leading the ruling Federal coalition.  (Urdu Point, Daily Pakistan)
  • Former Secretary Election Commission Kanwar Dilshad has stated that the position of the Chief Election Commissioner is equal to that of a judge of the Supreme Court. “No resolution can be presented against him in the national or provincial assemblies”. While explaining CEC powers, he stated that CEC can proceed against erring law makers, disqualify them and sentence them to and 3-year imprisonment. (Daily Pakistan)
  • The federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has announced some relief to small traders who have been on warpath.  He said tax exemption will be provided to vendors who consume less than 150 units of electricity per month.  The government will collect Rs 3000 as tax from the shopkeepers who are not registered with FBR.  No tax notice will be issued to the shops and FBR officers will not visit their shops. (Daily Express, Nawaiwaqt, Ummat, Daily Jinnah)
  • An Afghan official was killed in clashes between Taliban forces and Iranian border guards, a Reuters reports says.  Bahram Haqmal, the police spokesman of Nimroz province put the toll at one killed and one injured. Reasons for the clash are unclear. (Daily Express, Nawaiwaqt)
  • According to the sources, the federal government sought an explanation from the Director General (DG) Hajj Mission Jeddah on the poor arrangements during Hajj.  The federal government had allocated a huge budget for the Hajj mission, but, the arrangements at  Jeddah were quite poor. (Nawaiwaqt, Daily Jinnah)
  • The biggest theft in the country’s history has come to light; it has been revealed that material worth about 10 billion rupees has been stolen from Pakistan Steel. (Jasarat)
  • A protest march was taken out in Karachi against the government not declaring the martyrdom day of Amirul Momineen Khalifa, Sayyed Umar Farooq Azam, as a public holiday. Thousands of people joined the procession taken out   from the former Lasbilah Chowk under aegis of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. (Jasarat)
  • The federal government has decided to hand over the administrative control of the ‘Army Foundation’ to the Ministry of Defence. (Jang)
  • Unknown persons threw a hand grenade at the FC check post behind Sariab Road, Village Aid, Balochistan. However, there was no damage. On receiving the information, a heavy contingent of FC and police reached the spot and mounted search operations. (Jang)

Editorials

  • Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the flood-affected areas of Balochistan and made some announcements, but what will happen after he leaves? The same that is already happening for years. However, there will be al-Khidmat and some other voluntary organizations in the field, people should distinguish between those who are like them and others, those who are serving without any authority; they should be given the authority; they should be elected. (Edit Jasarat)
  • Negotiations with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been going on for a long time, but so far there is no positive outcome. Everyone knows the reason, which the Taliban has also conveyed to Pakistani Ulema that the ‘Islamic system in Pakistan’ is not the same as the Islamic system in Afghanistan. An 8-member delegation of Ulema under the leadership of Maulana Mufti Taqi Usmani returned on Friday after meeting the TTP leadership and the Afghan Taliban. Maulana Usmani convinced the militant group that there is nothing in the constitution of Pakistan that can be called un-Islamic. There is no mandate and there was no justification for them to take up arms against the state. The armed forces of Pakistan have always talked about peaceful negotiations instead of war, but when the time came, they conducted successful operations against all kinds of terrorists and   facilitators of terrorism with the support of the nation.  As far as the TTP is concerned, there were several rounds of negotiations with them, some of which proved to be fruitful and some could not be fruitful due to the fact that there were some conditions that were not acceptable. TTP should understand the words of a scholar like Taqi Usmani that peace and stability is the need of the entire region. The demand of time is that the TTP should accept that the conflict can be resolved only through negotiations. It is in every one’s interest that the ceasefire in place since May 2022 becomes permanent. (Edit Jang)
  • Hate comments on social media have resulted in riots in Gilgit City.  The administration has started a crackdown against the law breakers. It has warned that no one spreading hate during Muharram would be spared. The government and people should ensure that religious sentiments are not hurt by anyone. Such crooks should be crushed with an iron hand.  Gilgit-Baltistan is already beset with several problems. It is not wise to add fuel to fire.  (Edits – Baad-e-Shimal, Daily K2)
  • A delegation of ruling alliance met the Chief Election Commissioner and requested an early decision on the foreign funding case involving the PTI of Imran Khan. The alliance announced its plan to call on CEC. The meeting was a follow-up on the announcement. There was nothing secret about it. According to details found in the records of the Election Commission, PTI leaders have met the CEC many times. Hence the question, according to the Commission sources, if it is ok for PTI meetings with CEC, and if such meetings do not violate the code of conduct, what is wrong with government delegation meeting the CEC. PTI has announced to file a reference against the Chief Election Commissioner. It was the “Financial Times of London that had broken the ‘story’. Instead of denying the ‘story’, PTI is  putting pressure on the CEC when the poll body is about to give its verdict on the foreign funding case. (Daily Pakistan Edit)
  • The people of Pakistan must have read this news with interest that Pakistanis have come to the eighth position among the buyers of property in Dubai. Property prices in Dubai rose by 85% during the past six months. Due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Russians invested in large numbers. Indian, British, Italian, and French nationals are also among the buyers of properties in Dubai. It will be interesting to know about the lucky Pakistanis who have bought Dubai homes, and stood eighth in the pecking order. It is no small matter given the grim economic scenario at home and they cannot be certainly ordinary Pakistanis. If government officials are amongst the buyers, then their assets should be compared with their income to see if the wealth was not acquired through corrupt means. (Edit, Nawaiwaqt)
  • The current wave of floods brings up the reality that due to Pakistan’s weak administrative structure and lack of financial resources, government is not able to cope up with natural and climate changes. Disasters in Pakistan are less due to natural calamities and more due to poor planning and government incompetence.   The National Disaster Management Agency has also failed to prove its effectiveness. Pakistan has become the sixth most affected country due to climate change. Energy alternatives have not been considered and no plan has been made to store water for agriculture. While China and India have built innumerable dams, we in Pakistan have not been able to do anything. Even the Kalabagh Dam project, which could have benefitted us immensely, is in cold storage because of objections from some provinces. The ruling class, who have become rich by consuming the wealth of the state, are corrupt and working against the interests of the people.  Only the government of Pakistan can do things against the interests of the taxpayers with the taxpayers’ money, this does not happen elsewhere in the world. (Edits- Nawaiwaqt, Jehan Pakistan Edit, Naibaat Edit, Jasarat)

Columns

  • It is only in countries like Pakistan where amnesty is given to turn black money into white.   Of late, a lot has been happening to turn black money into white in Pakistan by elites. If such personalities can purchase companies like K-Electric, there must be several other powerful and influential elites who would have purchased several government assets because their main task is to make black into white. A report in Financial Times mentioned about Arif Naqvi. He is the same person who had organized charity cricket matches in the UK to raise funds to help PTI become self-sufficient financial resources wise. But this money comes under the “money laundering” clause. Going by media reports, this Naqvi is involved in illegal activities at global level. e  He cannot escape punishment. Along with him, Imran Khan too cannot escape.  Hence, PTI does not want that the EC verdict on foreign funding case now. The party would like put on the back burner this eight-year-old case. Because, PTI leaders fear that a decision on the matter can hurt the popularity of Imran Khan at this juncture. (Sindh Exp. Allah Bux Rathod) 
  • Conditions seem to be getting messy in Balochistan, and time is not far off when people themselves say- “enough is enough, we want peace now no matter if it comes at the cost of Pakistan’s security”.  Due to the government’s unrealistic policies, sardars/kabila chiefs have always been part of governments in Balochistan. Pakistan’s former chief justices too have pointed out the need to pay attention to Balochistan’s issues. Pakistan’s friendly countries have often warned that rulers should understand conditions in Balochistan and there should be continuity in policies. Each passing moment in Balochistan is adding to the country’s instability. In fact, we should also view ourselves as in a “state of war”. Neither time is on our side nor do we have enough power. We should take lessons and should not repeat mistakes. We no longer can afford such repeats. We continue suffering for mistakes made in East Pakistan. Pakistan authorities should set up at least three committees to examine different aspects of life in Balochistan and the federal government should implement recommendations of such committees. If Zardari can go and seek help from Shujaat Chaudhary with all humility, then what is wrong in talking to Balochistan’s sardars/kabila chiefs and especially with youth? Why cannot we give thought to general amnesty for Baloch rebels? The courts have made enough observations about missing persons’ fate. In the past, the Supreme Court gave too much importance to this matter so much so that very case was heard in Balochistan. At times, fingers are also raised against those who were posted in Balochistan to keep law and order. They all are connected with the army, directly or indirectly. Balochs are kept in illegal detention and then killed. Decomposed bodies are sent to families. Amongst measures being taken up, this matter also be amongst priorities that there would be no abductions (of Baloch). In Balochistan socio-cultural set-up, the entire kabila is obedient to its chief/sardar. In that case, why federal government and Balochistan government do not take help of kabila chiefs to maintain law and order. And, in case any kabila chief is not ready to help authorities, why federal government is shying away from establishing rule of law? There are 35 districts in Balochistan and the number of kabila chiefs/sardars is more than this number. Why is it not possible that these kabila chiefs are given the task that they help authorities in keeping peace in their areas? Gen. Rahim Aldin Khan was appointed Governor (Balochistan) in times of Zia. He told kabila sardars/chiefs that he wants peace in Balochistan and, kabila chiefs/sardars will be responsible for it. It seems there is someone working from behind and pushing Balochistan to fresh incidents each day. It looks Pakistan rulers will have to muster courage for decisive action. (Pahenji, Ali Hassan, July31)  
  • The PDM government has not been able to deliver. Even friendly countries are of no help to it. Country’s treasury is running out. Our foreign reserves are down to 8.6 billion.  Of this three billion each came from Saudi and UAE and 2.3 billion dollars from China. It means our stock is just 0.3 billion. Government has nothing in its defense. It speaks for the government’s failure that the establishment/army has to take up the task of putting the country’s financial conditions in right shape. It remains to be seen if the country can get bailout package before August? All this will also tell as to how much America is well-wisher of current government of Pakistan There is a lobby making hue and cry that an emergency will be imposed   citing political and economic crisis as the reason. This very same lobby wants general elections in these financially stressed times. Going for polls in current times will take the country into a deeper financial crisis. Imran Khan is trying his best to exploit the situation in his party’s favor. (Kawish, Khadim M. July 31)  
  • The value of Pakistani rupee is continuously depreciating against the US dollar. The imported government is being held responsible for this because, in the knowledge of ordinary Pakistanis, the conditions of the motherland were fine till April this year. I personally do not blame the current government for the economic crisis. The main reason for this crisis is Russia’s war against Ukraine, which led to increase in the price of oil to an unbearable level. The most important reason for the continuous decline in the value of the Pakistani rupee is the attitude of the watchdog of the global economy, i.e. the IMF. With Shahbaz Sharif looking to the world as a mere Mayor of Islamabad, the IMF is forced to think about who would fulfill the promises made to it to obtain aid funds. The names of speculator hoarders are known to every big businessman in Pakistan. But it is not possibly enough for our governments to arrest them. While lamenting the fall in the value of the Pakistani rupee, we are also oblivious to the fact that Afghanistan is buying its imports with dollars from Pakistan market though its foreign currency reserves are frozen by the US since August last year. The short point is that we will have no respite for weeks to come and all the blame will be placed at the doorstep of the present government. (Nusrat Javeed – Nawaiwaqt)##