Pak Urdu Media Digest, June 17

NEWS

  1. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that for economic growth we have to strengthen our ties with India and America. Speaking at a function in Islamabad he said that CPEC will open new avenues for the development. Pakistan can play the role of a bridge between world powers. In past, Pakistan had played an important role in creating diplomatic connections between America and China. (Dunya Daily)  
  2. Diplomatic relations between Pakistan and South Africa have been strained, both countries have imposed an unannounced ban on the transfer and registration of vehicles of each other’s embassies. According to sources, the South African Revenue Services Department has launched an investigation against the Pakistani embassy after Pakistani diplomats are accused of selling vehicles imported by them. Pakistan’s ambassador to South Africa Mazhar Javed and former deputy ambassador Adnan Javed are also facing these charges. But both have strongly refuted the charge while speaking on the Geo News. (Jang)   
  3. The government will send a delegation of scholars to Afghanistan to soften the position of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on the issue of extension of the ceasefire. The decision follows the failure of the tribal jirga  to persuade the TTP to extend the ceasefire. It should be noted that the talks were mediated by the Taliban government.  The scholars delegation will also seek the help of Afghanistan’s interim Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani to make the ceasefire more effective. (Daily Express)
  4. Mohammad Abu Bakar of MQM has won the NA-240 by-election held today by getting 10683 votes; the   death of MQM’s Iqbal Mohammad Ali resulted in the by-poll. Polling started at 8 am and continued till 5 pm. TLP and PSP traded charges accusing each other of firing. Rangers were summoned as tensions flared up.   Reports said the vehicles of Pak-Sar-Zamin Party (PSP) President Anis Qaim Khani and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) Chief Allama Saad Hussain Rizvi came under attack. One person was killed and several others were injured. (Nawai Waqt, Daily Express, Daily Jinnah)
  5. Protest rallies and dharnas were held in parts of Sindh against rise in petrol prices. The protestors said a rise in petrol price will lead to a steeper inflation making life of lower strata people more miserable. The protestors threatened to intensify their stir if inflation is not tamed. (Pahenji Akhbar, June 16)
  6. Inflation has risen further following the rise in POL prices.  Goods transporters, public transporters, and local transporters across the country have automatically increased fares.  The bus fares out of Lahore are up from 50 rupees to 300 rupees. People from different walks of life have protested against the increase in bus fares and petrol prices.  And demanded a rollback. (Nawai Waqt, Ummat, Daily Jinnah)
  7. Senate Standing Committee on Finance has decided to tighten the noose around tax evaders, by giving the FBR powers to block electricity, gas connection, and mobile SIMs of non-filers. A meeting of the   Committee   held under the chairmanship of Senator Saleem Mandviwala discussed the Finance Bill which seeks to check tax evasion. (Daily Jinnah, Ummat, Nawai Waqt, Daily Express)
  8. Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Senior Vice President Mir Abdul Karim Noshirwani, who is also a former provincial minister said the Central and Provincial Governments should immediately cut their non-development expenditure to rein in inflation. He said unemployment, hunger and poverty have peaked in Balochistan. He also said that Balochistan cannot be run by the Sendak project alone. (Urdu Point)
  9. During the crackdown on drug dealers and smugglers, President Division Police Peshawar have arrested five suspects. More than two kilograms of ice, four kilograms of heroin and 13 kilograms of high-quality hashish were recovered. (Urdu Point)
  10. During a crackdown on anti-social elements, Bhana Mari police (Peshawar) have arrested two persons involved in illegal weapon business. One of them belongs to Charsadda while the other is a resident of Bazid Khel. Six pistols were recovered from them. (Urdu Point)
  11. Member Peshawar Assembly Asif Khan has thundered that he and his followers will lay a siege of WAPDA House if unannounced load shedding does not end within seven days. (Urdu Point)
  12. Former Federal Home Minister Shaikh Rasheed has denied that he has left Imran Khan. “I am not in PTI but I am with Imran Khan”, he said, and accused the Shehbaz government of taking unconstitutional decisions and destroying the economy. (Ausaf Daily)
  13. Vice President of PML-N Mariam Nawaz has described the Imran era agreements with the IMF as landmines for the Shehbaz government.   Speaking to the media she said the recent hikes in POL prices was on account of IMF conditions Imran Khan had accepted.  The present government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is bound to honour these agreements. “Imran Khan decided that if I have to go I will make arrangements to destroy the next government”, she remarked, and added “If we don’t follow the IMF agreement the country will become bankrupt”. (Intekhab Daily)
  14. Senior leader of Jamiat Ulema e Islam, and parliamentarian Hafiz Hussain Ahmed said unfortunately the punishment by law is only for the poor people in Pakistan. The elite are exempted. People with names like ‘Sharif’ and ‘Musharraf’ are never punished. They are dealt with differently. Speaking to the media he said that Musharraf was under trial for a treachery case. But during the judicial process, he was first sent to a hospital and then to a foreign country for treatment. Nawaz Sharif was in jail but was sent out of the country for treatment and his guarantor and brother is now made the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He said that if it is an act of humanity then will this humanity be extended to other poor criminals also? (Intekhab Daily)
  15. Chief of Jamaat e Islami, Siraj Ul Haq, has said that the decisions of the Shehbaz government may create anarchy in the country. Why the poor people should pay for the debauchery of the elite and the rulers. The budgets presented by the federal and provincial governments are a bunch of lies. All the three parties have sold the present and future of the nation to the IMF. (Dunya Daily)
  16. To save electricity and to close markets early, the ministry of power has decided to close down commercial feeders between 7 pm to 10 pm.  The decision will be implemented after the Cabinet gives its nod this week.  Under the new plan, there will be no day time load shedding.  Five thousand MW of power will be saved by this process. Tube well feeders will also be closed between 7 pm to 11 pm to save another three thousand MW. (Intekhab Daily)
  17. Quetta Commissioner Suhail Baloch said that fool proof security would be provided to the Polio vaccination team in sensitive areas. (Qudrat)

COLUMNS:

  1. The emerging economic scenario threatens to be highly alarming next month especially for lower strata of society. The way political parties are changing sides in favor or against the establishment, is a very dangerous phenomenon for the future of democracy in the country. Otherwise too conditions are so bad that nothing can be ruled out and anything can happen. If political parties continue with their agenda keeping aside larger national issues and national interests, it would not only mean their political loss but more than that it can lead to larger national losses too. We all know too well that whosoever runs the government, PTI or PML(N) or any other party, it is loans, foreign or domestic help run the country. Parties should do not derail the economy in their power struggle. (Pahenji Akhbar, M B Soomro, June 16)
  2. When Bangladesh was separating from Pakistan, we in Pakistan were ridiculing them and making comments that the Bengalis were making a mistake. We were making comments like “They will die hungry”. But all that is proved wrong. Bangladesh is making progress today.  How have they done it? How has their currency fared better than ours? It is not difficult to get a reply to such questions. Bengalis have gone through several ups and downs to reach their current economic status where their PM can make boasts like: Bangladesh today is wealthier than India and Pakistan. Another major reason is that everyone in Bangladesh, from PM to a working-class person, be it a peon or any unemployed, or even businessman, all are loyal to their nation. Those at high places in Bangladesh keep watchful eye, and do not allow corruption. It is because of this check and balance that Bangladesh can proudly look down upon Pakistan’s state of affairs. Unlike in Bangladesh, we hardly think even for a minute for our country and its interests and it is the result of such a mindset that people here are living miserable life. This is a major difference in life and times between Bangladesh and Pakistan; this is taking them skyward, in development and progress, and taking Pakistan downward, to still lower and unenviable levels. We, the people, can envy Bangladesh’s ever improving status but not our leaders and rulers; they will never like to take lessons. History is witness to the fact that where people and rulers hold their individual and personal interests  above national interests, such nations only get from bad to worse. Today, we are in the grip of steep inflation and political uncertainties. One major reason for the big dent in Pakistan’s global image is one single fact that none in country is loyal to Pakistan. (Kawish, Sikandar Abbasi, June 16)
  3. Today’s accidental rulers have come to power only to save themselves from accountability cases. Today’s rulers know very well that they could go behind bars any time. They are facing several cases and they are thus doomed for legal music. They had taken over from Imran Khan just to save their skin but they hardly made any preparations as to how to give relief to inflation-hit people. Today, these rulers in a bid to save their own skin are passing on every economic burden to the common man. Shehbaz government’s big problem is to keep the IMF in good humor and satisfy the IMF by implementing the terms and conditions agreed to with the IMF which in turn adds to the common man’s woes. People are literally left high and dry with petrol prices getting hiked so high in a month. Continuing price rise is making almost every essential out of reach of common man these days. People are hardly left with funds to take care of their medical requirements. It is a state of panic for people as they know not what next awaits them under an insensitive government. People must be wondering at their plight and for being destined to be in a country like Pakistan. If any government in Pakistan utilizes its huge natural resources well enough, people can have smiles back on their faces. (Sindh Express, Aijaz Mungi)
  4. Russian Consul General Andrey Viktorovich Fedorov has confirmed that during Imran Khan’s visit to Moscow there was talk of providing cheap oil to Pakistan but no agreement was reached. He added that Russia could still supply cheap oil to Pakistan if the Islamabad cooperated. The reason why the cheap Russian oil deal didn’t become reality can be found in a recent tweet from Russian President Vladimir Putin that there was no middle ground, whether a country was independent or a colony.  It is a tragic and heartbreaking fact that the impression has taken root that Pakistan, under US pressure, has given up buying cheap oil from Russia and resorted to buying expensive oil from Arab countries.  The rise in diesel and petrol prices resulted in an increase in the price of every essential commodity. A tsunami of inflation has occurred, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop. (Jasarat- Arif Bahar)
  5. The IMF has remained vigilant like a ruthless moneylender. To the point of exhaustion, they repeatedly reminded you that the United States has a final role to play in the decision-making process of the IMF. If the IMF has become hostile to us, the reasons for it should be sought. To my knowledge, the humiliating withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has made the United States hostile. They are taking revenge by keeping the IMF strict against Pakistan. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has, in one sense or another, diverted attention from the real causes of US hostility. Justice demanded that the Imran government should accept its limitations with courage and bravery in the face of this crisis. Imran Khan, however, had instinctively realized that his retirement arrangements were in the final stages of preparation. So, he suddenly appeared on TV and announced the freezing of petrol prices. Due to economic sanctions on Russia oil produced in Arab countries is now selling as gold on the world market. The market is booming so even brother countries are hesitating to help us in difficulties. A few days ago, one of our ministers quietly went to a Gulf country. It was reported that the gas of the said country has been booked by various European countries till 2025. In short, after petrol, now gas has to be bought and brought to Pakistan according to market trends. The storm of inflation seems to have just begun. All the blame, however, will go to the Prime Minister Shehbaz and his team. (Nusrat Javeed – Nawai Waqt)

Editorials

  1. The political instability that has come to befall the country in the aftermath of no-trust motion against the Imran Khan Government continues to hang over the nation. It is perhaps for the first time in the country’s history that the country’s biggest province Punjab Assembly saw two separate sessions in a day. The political instability in the country and the constitutional crisis in Punjab are taking a big toll on the economy; there is nothing in sight to suggest a return of political stability in the country. PTI members are still not ready to return to the House and Punjab assembly is far from in order time and again.  All political parties need to show restraint and whatever be the issues, should be discussed and sorted out on the floor of the legislature in interest of democracy, economy and politics too. (Pahenji Akhbar Edit, June 16)
  2. Maintaining law and order is one of the key responsibilities of administration. It is taxpayers’ money behind salaries of policemen and other senior bureaucrats. The grievances cell at lower level be made more active. People should also be told /made aware that in case there is a crime and no impartial action is taken, complaints can be lodged; committees can be also set up to look into charges against police officers named by complainants so that relief is awarded to affected persons. People also instead of approaching political bigwigs should approach police in connection with any grievances; this can help improve law and order in Sindh. (Kawish Edit, June 16)
  3. Petrol price was hiked byRs.24 a ltr. Only two days back, diesel prices were increased. Petrol prices are decided by the government, but there is no check on other essentials of day-to-day use. Businessmen decide prices in their own ways. Government should at least try to control prices of day-to-day essentials. It looks like the government has no feeling for the common man. There are indications of more rises in petroleum prices in the days ahead. It is high time the government started exploring way out of the problems as also  ways to make our economy self-reliant by doing away with un-necessary expenditure. (Sindh Express Edit)
  4. Army and PTI leadership have started wrangling after Army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar at his presser touched upon the “conspiracy” theory vis-à-vis the PTI government. Imran asked as to   how the military spokesperson will decide whether there was a conspiracy or not? His demand is quite legitimate. In the light of the situation that has arisen between the army and the PTI, a judicial inquiry into the conspiracy charges has become necessary. General Babar has also said that if a commission is formed, the Army will cooperate. Put simply both parties agree on setting up a probe commission.  When both the parties agree on the commission, then a judicial inquiry has become necessary. (Edits- Jasarat)
  5. As far as the conspiracy to pack off Imran Govt is concerned, it has been discussed at the National Security Summit; it turned out that there was no evidence of such a conspiracy. The letter, which was shown in connection with the conspiracy, is routinely used in communication at the diplomatic level, so action was taken diplomatically.  What does it mean to target the Pakistani forces and its leadership? Everyone has the right to express their opinion but lies and slander are not allowed. Now it is up to the government to decide whether it wants to have a commission or not. However, defaming institutions should be stopped. (Edits Jang)
  6. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Sardar Masood Khan met US President Joe Biden. According to a statement issued by the Pakistani embassy, during the meeting, the US President expressed his determination to advance Pak-US relations on a strong footing. Pakistan has always made tremendous sacrifices for the interests of the United States and has been fulfilling all its legitimate and illegitimate demands unconditionally. The bitterness, mistrust, and tension in Pak-US relations today are driven by the US attitude. In the post-9/11 war on terror, the United States pressurized Pakistan to become its frontline ally.  In return, Pakistan fell victim to the worst form of terrorism and lost more than 80,000 precious lives. Pakistan’s weak economy has suffered trillions of dollars in losses. Yesterday, US President Joe Biden   expressed his determination to strengthen relations with Pakistan and work together in all fields including trade, investment, and security which is welcome.   The United States should fully cooperate with Pakistan so that we can get out of these crises and place the   bilateral relations on a strong footing. (Edit Nawa-i-Waqt)
  7. The people of Pakistan have become a picture of misery and sadness due to high inflation. The rising prices of petrol, diesel and electricity have badly affected the domestic budget of common man. In the last 20 days, the prices of petrol were up by 84 rupees per liter and diesel by 119 rupees per liter. Such a rise is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. These hikes fuel inflation further. The government attributes the hikes to the agreements entered into by the Imran regime with the IMF. Besides that, the Russia-Ukraine war has also contributed to price spiral. Our government lacks planning to deal with this problem. The issue is very serious and it needs a solution on a war footing. (Edit-Dunya Daily, Edit-Islam Daily)