Pak Urdu Media Digest, July 5, 2022

News

  • Islamabad High Court has given the last chance to the government for recovery of missing persons. The Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that if concrete steps were not taken by September 9, the Prime Minister would be summoned to the court. The state should recover all the missing persons and action should be taken against the guilty. (Jasarat)
  • Senior journalist and analyst Ayaz Amir says the issue of missing persons has nothing to do with civilian governments and that the Prime Minister should not be reprimanded for this. He said this while talking to Hamid Mir, the host of Geo’s program “Capital Talk”.  He said that people go missing in Pakistan, and phone tapping is not a crime here.  (Jang)
  • Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam has staged a protest in Jacobabad against attacks on its candidates and workers during the civic polls.   JUI activists chanted slogans and staged a sit-in in front of the press club.  The JUI district Ameer Dr. AG Ansari and other workers were attacked on the polling day.  JUI candidate Qari Dilbar Kanrani was taken hostage and tortured. And in Bakhtarpur, the houses of JUI candidates and leaders were attacked in the middle of the night, The houses also came under firing for several hours.  (Jasarat)
  • Goods Transporters Association has blocked the central highway of Poonch, and staged a wheel jam strike against load shedding and other problems faced by people on a daily basis. Police arrested protestors in Rawalakot and many other places but were released later. (Kashmir Dharti)
  • Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) organized protests in Skardu to express solidarity with Anjuman-e-Imamia protestors in Gilgit for the release of 13 persons arrested in 2005 during a scuffle with Rangers. (Daily K2)
  • FATA Qaumi Jirga expressed concern over turmoil in FATA areas merged with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It said that unless the tribes are given their rights and the FATA’s original status is not restored the struggle will continue. (Aeen)
  • Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo met PPP Chief and former Pakistan president, Asif Ali Zardari. Both discussed matters of mutual concern.  Zardari assured him that Sindh would provide to Balochistan water for irrigation purpose.  Zardari appealed that Balochistan and Sindh should end misunderstandings and settle all issues mutually. (Qudrat)
  • Leader of the Balochistan National Party and Minister of State Hashim Notezai has announced that a bill about missing persons will be tabled in the National Assembly. “If this bill is not supported then we will be free to take our own decisions”, he declared in an interview with the ARY News. He added: “We will not bargain for our issues. We are not after ministerships and privileges”. He went on to say that if the bill was not approved “we will call a meeting of the central committee to decide whether we should remain in the government or leave it”. He recalled that the BNP had left the PTI government because it did not approve our bill. “We will continue our struggle for the people of Balochistan”. (Ausaf Daily)
  • PTI rebel law maker Uzma Kardar has claimed that Imran Khan was involved in white-collar crimes. He was always working from behind. Other people were in front. For every corrupt act, 70 percent was sent to Bani Gala and 30 percent was distributed to others. She said that Bushra Bibi daily got some files signed by Imran Khan for illegal works. He was getting 10 lakh rupees daily in his account for transfers and postings. Imran Khan had forgotten his party workers. Only Farah Gogi was seen in Bani Gala. She has escaped and now Imran Khan has to answer for the corruption of crores of rupees. (Ausaf Daily)
  •  The Central Secretary of PTI Farrukh Habib came down heavily on PML-N government in Punjab for its free electricity plan It is a gimmick to secure votes in the by-elections. It proves that people are not ready to vote for them.  He alleged that chief minister Hamza Shahbaz is openly violating the rulings of the court. (Ausaf Daily)
  • The leader of the ‘Give Rights’ campaign, Maulana Hidayat Ur Rahman, has said that they are fighting for the legal rights of the people of Balochistan.  “Activists of the ‘Give Rights’ campaign are not terrorists or drug mafias”. He regretted that false cases are hoisted on his workers and leaders in Kech. He expressed his disappointment at the refusal of Kech lawyers to fight their cases.  He however praised two lawyers, Mehrab Khan and Ubaid Bashir of Kech who came forward to take their cases. Last week during their dharna, DC of Kech has asked for 14 days to find missing people. He should tell now how many persons are traced so far? Maulana Hidayat Ur Rahman announced that after Eid they would hold a massive rally to highlight the failure of the government to solve our long-lasting problems and its “use force to crush our struggle for justice”. (Intekhab Daily)
  •  Dozens of retired employees and pensioners staged a sit-in on the Indus Highway at Lachi Tehsil of Kohat in protest against funds crunch at the post office. The local MPAs and other officials intervened to persuade them to call of their protest. (Urdu Point)
  • Citizens in Charsadda have protested against not getting cheap flour announced by the Government. (Daily Pakistan)
  • The government is expected to approve imports of goods in Pakistani currency from Afghanistan and expand the scope of utility stores across the country. Finance Minister Muftah Ismail convened a meeting of the Cabinet’s Economic Co-ordination Committee on Wednesday. The meeting is also expected to approve the export of 120,000 tons of wheat to Afghanistan under the World Food Program, and approval of funds for the payment of the markup of the Heavy Electrical Complex. The implementation of the National Disease Emergency for Lymphatic Skin Disease will also be considered. (Daily Express, Nawaiwaqt, Ummat, Daily Jinnah)
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan has strongly protested against the Federal Government’s decision to cut funds for the Health Card Scheme for Integrated Districts. He has sent a formal protest letter to the Federal Minister of Health. (Urdu Point, Daily Pakistan)
  • The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has decided to continue free treatment on health cards in tribal districts, though the federal government has suspended the scheme. The provincial cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan announced that the provincial government would continue the scheme with its own resources. (Daily Express, Daily Jinnah)
  • The Federal government has given tax relief worth billions of rupees to the cigarette industry by raising the taxable price of expensive cigarette brands. This change was made on the occasion of the approval of the budget in the National Assembly. The move also took away all those benefits that the government wanted to achieve by increasing the federal excise duty on cigarettes. (Ummat, Daily Jinnah)
  • Anti-Corruption agency has launched an investigation against Ahmed Mujtaba, the brother of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi. He is accused of illegally leasing government market land. According to departmental sources, Mujtaba through his front-man Tahir Zahoor gave illegally government market land on lease. (Nawaiwaqt, Daily Express, Daily Jinnah, Ummat)
  • The Ulema gathering in Kabul has called for recognition of Taliban regime in Afghanistan but remained silent on reopening girls’ school.  Very few delegates raised the issue of girls and women’s education at the jirga. (Nawaiwaqt, Daily Jinnah)

Editorials

  •  The main reason for the ongoing energy crisis in Pakistan is the unavailability of fuel for power plants; the cheapest fuel in the past was liquefied natural gas. The previous PML-N government had made long-term agreements with Qatar at very low rates, but the PTI government could not continue the arrangement. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has triggered a severe petrol crisis around the world and Western countries have been buying liquefied natural gas at exorbitant prices. Therefore, the LNG deals Pakistan had entered into were canceled. However, it is gratifying that the Shehbaz government is trying to import gas from Qatar. Credible sources say the talks with Qatar are to meet the monthly gas shortage of 400 to 500 million cubic feet. Qatari agencies reportedly want a smooth sailing to their plan to set up a merchant LNG terminal near Karachi. It is important that their LNG plan be facilitated as soon as possible. (Edit Jang)
  • National highways in Balochistan have become death traps. In just one month more than 60 people including women and children have lost life in road accidents. Scores are injured. On 8th June, 22 people succumbed to injuries after their bus fell into a ravine. The administration should take serious and immediate measures to check accidents and save precious lives. (Qudrat Edit)  
  • The Federal Cabinet has decided that in future power plants that can run on local fuel will be set up. This is a practical decision. It will reduce our dependence on imported fuel to run the power plants. We will also be saved from the fluctuations in fuel prices in the international market. Frankly the government took the decision a day too late.   The Russia-Ukraine war has already pushed up prices of fuel to sky high. The government should also tell us what local resources we have at our disposal. Do we have enough local oil and coal to run our power plants? If we have, then why we were importing coal? We have to discover more oil reserves and coal mines in our country to run the powerhouse on local fuel. (Edit-Dunya Daily)
  • Punjab ministers and   Politicians are making personal attacks at each other.  This mudslinging is taking place at press conferences. What kind of politics is this which is misleading youth and vitiating the social atmosphere? We all are no angels, and are only humans. We all have one or other flaw and as long as that does not concern or harm the society, why use that shortcoming for political use? All this can lead to more personal enmity. The intelligentsia should step forward to condemn and discourage such personal attacks by politicians on one another before it becomes a fashion of the day. (Pahenji, Edit, July 4)   
  • Amongst other crises, we have a power crisis also. Like earlier governments, the present government too has failed to get us any relief from this crisis. On one hand, people are being fed with false hopes that there will be relief, and on the other hand, power cuts keep rising affecting peoples’ day to day life and also commercial activity around.  The way the Shahbaz government is handling the matter is not the right way. There is a need for reforms right from the issue of recovery of power bills to setting everything else in the system right. By now, several directives have been issued, but nothing has worked.  Let the government get people solar units to help them get rid from power cuts. (Sindh Exp. Edit)  
  • We feel it necessary that governments in Islamabad and Karachi stop facilitating illegally staying Afghans in Sindh because this affects Sindh natives. We have also another big issue, water shortage, which authorities just keep ignoring. Sindh people staged protests on the water issue two days ago. We are of the view that Afghans staying illegally in Sindh be sent back to their country. Let more water be released into Indus to help improve economic conditions of farmers. All this is possible only when Sindh authorities are serious in these pursuits. (Sindh Exp, Edit) 
  • It never happens in neighbouring India that political parties call on the Establishment to resolve their differences, they resolve their differences on their own. But in Pakistan, political parties invite the Establishment to intervene, and yet want to be called democrats. Instead of having a direct dialogue, our political parties are looking for a third party; this mediator is usually Establishment.  Isn’t it possible for political forces to settle their differences across the board? Recently, a case was heard in the Supreme Court on the election of the Chief Minister of Punjab. The judges also said political parties should resolve their differences together. Here too, everyone saw that with the intervention of a third force, the Supreme Court, the Government and the Opposition agreed on one point. Couldn’t they have done it themselves? Was it necessary to continue the crisis in Punjab for three months? (Daily Pakistan Edit)
  • Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered immediate recommissioning of power plants that have been shut down.  He held a high-level meeting in Lahore and took stock of the power scene. It appears that nine major power plants with a generating capacity of 3,535 MW are not functioning due to a lack of fuel. Of these four plants were shut down due to LNG shortage. Two furnaces are closed due to oil shortage, one due to low coal inventory and one due to the expiration of the gas supply agreement. There are many reasons for the energy crisis in Pakistan. Between 2018 and 2022 the then government had slowed down work on affordable power generation projects. More over the government has failed to pay private power companies on time due to the increase in revolving credit, which has put pressure on coal-fired power plants. The situation has reached the point where coal reserves at the coal-fired power plant have dwindled. In this sense, the current government has inherited the energy crisis. If the previous government had given full attention to energy projects and continued to provide financial support to various energy projects, the energy crisis would not have arisen in the country today and the burden of revolving credit would not have increased. The former government was busy on prosecuting political opponents and making statements. Undoubtedly, self-sufficiency in energy is very important for the development of any country. Pakistan has the potential to be self-sufficient in energy. If all the energy projects Pakistan has are run at full capacity, Pakistan can generate more electricity than it needs and this electricity will be cheaper. It is also important to use other energy sources. (Edit, Daily Express)

Columns

  • Taliban are Pan Islamist or religious Afghan Nationalists? In their long history, they never talked about Pan-Islamism. They were always interested in their own national matters. Recently in an interview, the spokesman of the petroleum ministry said in very clear words that they don’t have any concept of Muslim Ummat. For them, Afghanistan is first. If Pakistan is facing any difficulty, then it has to solve it. It is not our headache. Just a few days back Shehbaz Sharif announced that to run our powerhouses “we will get low-cost coal from our brother country Afghanistan”. But when a foreign news agency contacted the spokesperson of the Afghan Petroleum Ministry, he bluntly stated that such an agreement is not done with Pakistan. He said “we are using our resources for ourselves. For us, our local traders are more important than Pakistan and its need for coal. The local traders can sell the coal to any country but we have levied a tax for the export of coal. We have increased the levy from 90 dollars per ton to 200 dollars per ton for Pakistan because Shahnaz Shari had given a false statement”. This is the Islamic brotherhood concept of the Taliban! (Dunya-Khursheed Nadeem)
  • We have to accept one bitter truth that Pakistan is amongst countries of the world who have taken no lessons from the past. They have not made their present too any better and as a result, such countries including Pakistan are much worried and uneasy about their future now. We cannot say how long the current government would survive. No one knows when Pakistan will enter into better and happier times. We have had enough of political experiments and hence nothing can be said with any certainty any longer. We can only hope for better times. Our experts and analysts have all eyes on the later part of the year because we are about to get a new army chief around the later part of the year. During these intervening months, the election commission can make arrangements for fresh polls too. On the other hand, for the first-time people are experiencing harsh times economically and some people have to skip their meals too due to the high rate of inflation. People do not know what next lies in the pipeline for them. In fact, people have been passing through such times ever since the formation of the country. Continuing distress has brought upon people a strong sense of disappointment and gloom. Life has come to a standstill for people because of negative and unreasonable politics. When will this impasse be broken to usher in new and better times? (Sindh Exp, Aijza Mungi)    
  • Pakistan faces the biggest threat from ones who claim to be Pakistan’s well-wishers. It is like one western philosopher’s saying who said, “Save me from my friends, I know my enemies and I know how to handle them”. These so-called Pakistan’s well-wishers or friends are neither economic experts nor are there any genuine political loyalty in them unto the country and the end- result is a big mess and chaos, politically and on the economic front too, in country. Everyone wants to rule Pakistan but there is none who can get Pakistan out of debt-trap. In fact, our rulers too have become miniature IMF. They keep justifying and also keep saying proudly, “what else can we do”, other than approaching IMF for loans. Pakistan is already in debts and every politician is trying to add to these debts on country. (Pahenji, Aijaz Mungi, July 4)   
  • A country that knows how to make atomic bomb and how to keep it safely, economic distress is matter of much concern. The concern becomes grave when there are reports of global terrorists camping/having hideouts on a part of such a country’s borders. The economic distress has engulfed the country but we do not have any project or program which can help people to come out of this distress. Instead, rulers keep advising people to use one spoonful less of sugar or drink less tea!  Rulers of the country that is by now used to begging, have no brains to understand the basic fact that nations and peoples’ pride and power stem from economic independence and not with habit of surviving on loans. (Pahenji, Inaam Bhati, July 4) 
  • The protests on the water issue seen in Sindh these days are not as effective as they used to be in the past. Some political parties have staged protests, some individuals too have taken to protests on the Badeen side, but parties like PPP, MQM, JUI(F) have not taken to any effective protest to shake powers that be in Islamabad’s corridors of power. Big landlords also know about water shortage; but are keeping quiet because of their political interests.  The farmers have become ineffective as they are not getting any political support to their protests. Their protests at individual level are hardly taken note of in Islamabad, Punjab or even by IRSA; even the Sindh irrigation department turned deaf to their outcry. This has led to a sense of gloom in people and amongst farmers. Unlike the major political parties cited above, small progressive and nationalist groups have been taking up water issues though they are taunted that they cannot win even civic polls.   Hats off to the small parties, nationalist and progressive groups, who despite scorching heat, keep protesting on water issues. (Pahenji, Nissar Khokhar, July 4)   
  • There was a time when people in Karachi’s villages were making protests with the demand for regularization of their ancestral places, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. None in the Sindh assembly cared to look into these demands. And, now it is the same Sindh assembly that has passed a bill, that too by majority vote, to regularize colonies of   migrants, Afghans and Bengalis in Karachi. In fact this is not just a bill to regularize migrants’ colonies, but it was something that can reduce sons of soil, Sindhis, into a minority. Now, it is time that all those who have slightest concern and love for Sindh, must come together on one point, namely Sindh land rights and work out some strategies to start a joint agitation. Or else Sindhis have dark days ahead in their own Sindh. (Kawish, Latif Jamal, July 4)   
  • Pakistan came into being as a laboratory for the Islamic system. But the main reason for the failure of the state of Pakistan is that we did not provide Islamic training to the workers while running the Tehreek-e-Pakistan. Running any ideological state requires trained workers; otherwise, no state can be run successfully. In other words, Pakistan is an Islamic republic, but that it is neither practically Islamic nor a republic. The status of Islamic republic is no more than a label. From the rulers to the people, no one is honest or sincere. Everyone seems to be busy making money and everyone is a priest of wealth, everyone is trying to become rich overnight. The bottom line is that even the rulers who came to power with the slogan of change have not fulfilled their promise. Unfortunately, the rule of the rulers has been to enjoy the rulership and move on. In1971 the country was torn apart by political maneuvers. Unfortunately, those responsible for the great tragedy did not feel any guilt. And are still trying the same tactics. Inflation has taken a toll on the common man and the middle class is struggling to maintain its white supremacy. Unemployment is rising. The distinction between halal and haraam, legal and illegal is disappearing and people are busy thinking of earning money in any way. Peace of mind is shattered. If there is any relief to the people from the government, well, there is as yet no tax on (human) breathing. (Shakeel Farooqi – Daily Express)

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