Pak Urdu Media Digest, May 31

NEWS

  • Pakistan Federal Government has cut Azad Jammu Kashmir’s developmental budget by Rs.2.5billion and Normal Budget by Rs.7billion. AJK authorities protested. “We made sacrifices for Pakistan and today we are not getting anything in return”. The federal government has frozen even the LoC Package Fund. (Kashmir Dharti, Siasat)
  • 1145 Independents have won the Balochistan civic elections, according to unofficial sources.  Polling took place in 32 districts show.   The trend shows that people of Balochistan have preferred independents instead of parties to resolve their civic woes. Behind independents, is Jamiat Ulema e Islam with 132 seats. Other parties have fared more miserably.  Balochistan Awami Party got 72 seats, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party 65, National Party 39 and PPP got 35 seats. PTI is practically wiped out. It has won only 10 seats. (Ausaf Daily)
  • In the Senate, the recent visit of some Pakistanis to Israel was hotly discussed. A demand was made to revoke their citizenship even.  The opposition members called for a high-level inquiry into the matter, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami said   the government should clarify its stand, and bring out the identities of all individuals before the nation. He also pointed out Ahmad Qureshi who works on Pakistani TV was a part of the delegation to Israel and said it raises many questions. The NGO that has organised the visit should be banned, he thundered.  (Jasarat)
  • Secretary General Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Amir-ul-Azeem has strongly condemned the visit of a Pakistani delegation to Israel and rejected the government’s position that the visit was organised by a foreign NGO. Expose the NGO and ban it from working in Pakistan, he demanded.  Amir-ul-Azeem also asked the government to disclose the political, religious and business identities of all the members of the delegation. “Revoke their Pakistani citizenship. Give up the idea of establishing ties with Israel,” he told the government saying that the 220 million people of Pakistan are not ready to accept the Zionist state under any circumstances. (Jasarat)
  • General Secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami (Sindh) Kashif Saeed Sheikh criticised the visit of a Pakistani delegation to Israel and asked the coalition government to clarify its position. On the one hand, the Israeli occupation forces are attacking the first Qiblah every day, killing unarmed Palestinians and violating the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and on the other hand tyrannical and imperialist agents are trying to sway public opinion in order to recognize the oppressive Jewish government by sending secret delegations; this is tantamount to betraying the Muslim people and sprinkling salt on the wounds of the Palestinian people. Liberals in Pakistan have been plotting since day one to recognize the illegitimate state of Israel, which is the worst enemy not only of the Palestinians but of the entire Muslim Umma.  He warned that the rulers should refrain from trying to recognize the killers of Muslims otherwise, Jamaat-e-Islami along with the whole nation will protest against the rulers. (Jasarat, Dunya Daily)
  • Chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said the delegation that visited Israel did not represent the state of Pakistan, the people of Pakistan, and the government. He has sought legal action against the Pakistanis who had gone to Israel.  (Daily Express, Nawai Waqt)
  • A The state-run Television, PTV has fired one of its anchors for visiting Israel, the Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb told NA. In a statement she reiterated that there will be no change in Pakistan’s policy on the Palestine issue. “Our policy is clear. It is based on the decrees of the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam”. The Minister also explained that the Anchor had gone on to Israel in his personal capacity. (Nawai Waqt, Daily Express)
  • MQM delegation met former President Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House and discussed the political situation. The delegation included Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Kanwar Naveed, Javed Hanif, and Sadiq Iftikhar. The meeting was attended by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Nasir Shah, Saeed Ghani, Murtaza Wahab, and others. The MQM complained that the cooperation expected from the Sindh government was not forthcoming. Appointment and deployment are also not being discussed.  We are not taken into confidence. Asif Ali Zardari directed Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to immediately remove the reservations of MQM. He also asked Shah to fully implement what PPP has been agreed to with the MQM. (Ummat, Daily Express, Nawai Waqt)
  • There is no shortage of water in the country, say leading water experts and aver that Pakistan’s failure to build dams is resulting in Rs 21 billion worth of water going to the sea.  Leading water expert and senior journalist Aafia Salam, Senior Journalist & International Award Winner and Editor of International Union for Conservation of Nature Magazine Shabina Faraz, Urban Planner and water expert Mohammad Farooq Afzal, and others made this assertion when Jasarat asked them whether lack of water in rivers could be a prelude to a serious water crisis. The experts pointed out that   Pakistan can only store 10% of its water. By 2050 its availability will be further reduced by 30% and as a result food production will go down further by 7 million tons per year. The way out, said the experts, is construction of dams to store the water, the establishment of modern irrigation system and water recycling. (Jasarat)
  • Law enforcement agencies have warned administration of a terrorist threat to Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine in Clifton, Karachi. ‘Terrorists may blow up shrine’, they told the Deputy Commissioner South in a communication.  “Drones can also be used to transport explosives to the shrine grounds.”  (Jasarat)
  • Two security personnel were injured in a suicide attack on their vehicle in North Waziristan.   The attack took place near Gaddai post in Razmak sub-division. The security forces have cordoned off the area and launched a search operation. (Jang)
  • The Airport Security Force (ASF) has alerted all airports to the possibility of an attack by a female suicide bomber and released two photographs. Deputy Director Operations Shah Mir Hussain has written in a letter to all concerned officers identified the woman as 22 years old resident of Ketch (Balochistan) district. Zalia, daughter of Muhammad Hayat and wife of Shoaib is influenced by the Shari Baloch, who was involved in the Karachi University bombing.  She reportedly belongs to a banned organization, the communication said. (Jang)
  • Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has Pakistan will need   37 to 36 billion for next fiscal year. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said countries that used to be generous in lending to countries in financial distress are now moving more cautiously. At the moment, all roads lead to the IMF. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and some other countries are ready to help but are advising that Pakistan needs to go to the IMF first. (Jang)
  • Civic polls may be deferred in Sindh. The advocate general received a letter to this effect from Sindh government, say sources. The letter is to be deposited with Sindh High Court. The sources also say that parliamentary parties are of the view that local body polls will be meaningless unless there are effective and independent local body laws. PTI, GDA and others too have supported the proposal. Apprehension of clashes between PTI and MQM is also said to be responsible for the decision to put off local elections. (Ibrat)
  • PTI Senator of PTI Faisal Javed has said that only two days are left for their ultimatum to run its course. The government must announce general elections immediately. This is the demand of the people, who have totally rejected the “imported” government.    According to a private TV channel, the PTI Senator has accused the government with slapping false cases on his party workers.  “Our houses were raided even after the court’s orders against it. Shells were fired at our unarmed people. Our workers were arrested. Is Jungle Law imposed in the country?”, he said. (Ausaf Daily)
  • Balochistan Chief Minister, Mir Abdul Quddus Bezenjo, has thanked his friends for defeating the no-confidence motion against his government. “No revengeful action will be taken against anyone”, he assured.  “The past governments had always ignored the opposition, but we believe in taking all political parties with us for the development of the province”, said Bezenjo.  He said that the opposition and the government both are elected by the people and both have to play their role in the progress and prosperity of the province. (Intekhab Daily)
  • Flour Mills Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has demanded the immediate lifting of the ban on inter-provincial movement of wheat and flour. In an appeal to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan the association said if the interstate movement ban is lifted, flour can be supplied in the province at reasonable prices. It will also save Flour Mills Industry in KPK. (Daily Pakistan)
  • The basic electricity tariff is likely to increase by up to 8 rupees per unit from 1st July. The implementation is likely to be phased out. The basic tariff can be increased from 16 rupees per unit to more than 24 rupees, according to sources in the Ministry of Energy. (Ummat, Nawai Waqt)
  • After the constitutional crisis was resolved with the appointment of a new Governor in Punjab, Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz decided to implement his public welfare priorities more diligently. He is also working hard on water supply in the Cholistan. He believes that water supply is a basic right of every citizen which should be provided on a war footing. Various projects in the fields of health and education are also in the final stages. (Daily Jinnah, Ummat, Daily Express)
  • Due to the unavailability of air traffic (AT) service in the Afghan capital Kabul, the Civil Aviation Authority issued a new notice on flights from Afghanistan to Pakistan. The captain of the flight (to Pakistan) must inform the AT control 15 minutes before entering the airspace of Pakistan. (Nawai Waqt)

COLUMNS

  • The Shehbaz government may come out with some relief packages. It will not help because inflation and price rise are affecting not just people in lower strata of society but also white-collared ones. If the ruling class is directly responsible for looting the exchequer for 75 years, they should be made to pay for it. All those who have looted the exchequer, should come out on their own for the larger good of the nation. If masses only are to pay for inflation and get affected in price-rise cycle, conditions can go out of rulers’ control. (Kawish, Latif Jamaal, May 30)
  • Whatever happened in Islamabad, it was to happen that way only. Imran Khan came by helicopter to lead protests. His activists were toiling at night in Islamabad and he came after a good rest (in Peshawar); he had a good facial before the take-off. All this was no less than inviting political doom for oneself. And, he is such a person who does not have courage enough to even admit mistakes. It is widely known that he speaks out anytime and anywhere. But he is shaken today. He has come to realize that the roots of the political castles that he had started building up are very weak; the “castle” had to crash like a pack of cards. Imran Khan is reaping all that he has sown. He cannot blame others for his downfall. He should not have headed for Islamabad without doing homework. Such haste in politics often ends up with one step ahead, two backward. (Pahenji Akhbar, Aijaz Mungi, May 30)
  • UN report says TTP has regrouped during Ashraf Ghani government times in Afghanistan. It has right now 4000 militants hailing from different parts of the world. These militants are based at western and south western Pakistan-Afghanistan borders. Ever since Taliban has taken over Afghanistan, TTP militants have attacked several times on Pakistan army convoys at the above border areas; there were 46 such attacks so far this year claiming 79 lives of Pakistani army men. From day one of the government change in Afghanistan, Pakistan has been talking to new rulers especially with the Haqqani group for a ceasefire. Three rounds have been held so far. Some TTP biggies, who were in jails with death sentences have also been released. Yet, TTP keeps fighting on Pakistan-Afghan borders. TTP militants include ISIS and Al Qaeda militants. Recently, TTP had held talks with Pakistan with the intervention of Afghan Taliban leader, Siraj-ud-din Haqqani, but these talks failed. TTP’s conditions are not acceptable to Pakistan. These conditions are: Removal of Pak army from Pakistan’s tribal belt, demerger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, withdrawal of cases against TTP men, release of jailed TTP men and introduction of Islamic Sharia in Khyber Pakhtunwaha’s Malakand division. There are 17 global terror groups who make up TTP. They are staying together only on the condition that they somehow weaken the Pakistan government and gradually impose Islamic system there. In case Pakistan erupts in civil unrest due to political instability, TTP would take advantage of conditions and would lay control on some parts of Pakistan. Keeping all these factors in mind, if the State does not keep religion away from governance, the day is not far off when all religious groups will become followers of TTP on the tenet of “Pakistan ka matlab kya....La Ilaha il-lal-lah”.  Imran Khan keeps heating up the political arena with his rhetoric laced with religious idioms. But our youth and retired generals and clean-shaven colonels need to ask themselves if they would like to see Pakistan as another Afghanistan? If that is what they call real freedom then they perhaps do not know that it would be worst slavery. If we do not give attention to real issues before the country, then one thing is certain that even if we do not become Medina State, we would surely end up as Syria, Lebanon and Afghanistan. It is time we start giving a relook at all mistaken beliefs and presumptions that we have been taking into consideration while ruling the country. Weak economy is breeding all internal and external challenges for the country today. If we still think that we can run a country on an ad-hoc basis, then it is living with delusions. Separating religion from State and modernization of our economy are amongst the solutions to run the country. Controlled governance and controlled institutions also cannot play any role in economic development. In today’s times, we can progress only when we move with free and independent institutions, individuals and nations too. (Pahenji Akhbar, Inam Bhati, May 30)
  • The PM and finance minister have said that they had to take unpopular and tough decisions like hike in petrol prices with a heavy heart. It was done to save the country from going bankrupt. It means the country and its institutions are under serious stress. But, how long can a country and its institutions be saved from such pressure/stress with such hard and unpopular decisions? We cannot take such decisions for long. There is a limit to peoples’ tolerance. Also, growing political unrest in the country can lead us to more uncertainties. We have seen enough of (tough) times and now some such decisions be taken which do not add to burden on common man; instead let some burden be shared also by rulers and other elite class and privileged sections in society. (Ibrat, Nafees Siddiqui)
  • We very much appreciate Islamabad High Court’s order and observations in the missing / abducted persons’ case.  State’s policies in such cases have not changed/continue to remain unchanged and there is no legal progress in such cases. Citizens keep getting abducted and they keep getting deprived of their legal rights. This has happened under each and every government. Forget ministers, but even PMs and Presidents do not speak a word on such cases. None of them knows as to what exactly has been happening; they also do not know how such abductions take place and how long will it continue this way. There is widespread resentment against these abductions in the country. Whenever abductions take place, people speak out, if not elsewhere, but surely on social media. Media is also full of reports on protests; our global image will further get dented if these abductions do not stop. Our courts are once again active on issue of abducted persons and our human rights bodies and political parties too should now come forward and be active for co-ordination action. (Sindh Express, Aijaz Mungi)
  • Corruption is eating away our society. Those who claim to wipe out corruption are also involved in one or another form of corruption. We have forgotten all rules, regulations and social and moral values. We are gradually moving towards a Sri Lanka like situation. Two or three families in Sri Lanka had hijacked politics and made the country their personal property. We are moving towards the same fate. But our country is very large compared to Sri Lanka, so it will take more time to come to that position. Meanwhile, we can take steps to reverse it. We have to do it together. Everything can’t be left to the politicians; the people to have to do their duties. (Dunya Daily-Ibrahim Khan)

EDITORIALS

  • It is a misfortune of the country that institutions are often misused for political objectives. That is one major reason that our institutions are often made controversial and peoples’ trust in them keeps declining. The institutions have not been able to discharge their functions freely and independently due to political pressures on them. There was an impression about the establishment till sometime back that one political party was being pampered by it. Now attempts are being made to exploit the judiciary for political ends leading to apprehensions amongst people that judiciary’s pride will get eroded and people will start losing faith in judiciary too. Judiciary should be kept away from political issues. It is good for political parties and even for the judiciary. It is the administration’s right to make decisions based on ground realities. If protests are kept peaceful, then none can deny protestors’ right to protest nor should protests be stopped. But, if someone wants to lead protests and head towards Islamabad with the larger idea of toppling government and yet expects the apex court to allow such protests, then it would be deemed as good as pushing the judiciary to political matters. We should see to it that such things do not happen because they would hurt judiciary’s credibility. (Pahenji Akhbar Edit, May 30)
  • Sindh government should be active in controlling flour prices. It should take action against the mafia and if need be, it should purchase wheat from Punjab. If requisite measures are not taken conditions will get worse as flour crisis can become reason enough for peoples’ backlash. Sindh and federal governments should pay attention to this issue because people in Sindh are already angry for worsening the water scenario. Authorities should take measures to see that people at least get their square meals.  We cannot expect our economy to get better only by shifting the burden to the common man by way of putting more taxes on them. Let some relief be given to people. (Kawish Edit, May 30, Sindh Express Edit)
  • The Islamabad High Court’s 15-page order in a case about abducted persons gave final opportunity to the Attorney General to produce the missing persons in court or explain reasons for State’s failure; the order also directs federal government to issue notices to all PMs right from Musharraf regime. The court also seeks an explanation as to why national security has been exposed to threats by implementing unofficial programs like forced abductions. Using force will only lead to more hatred. Let us do justice to the affected families in the light of IHC orders. The Court orders are timely orders. Hopefully, the government will now take this issue more seriously and resolve matter amicably. (Ibrat Edit)
  • The federal government has always been doing injustice to Sindh on the issue of water distribution. The Sindh irrigation department also must ensure that whatever water is received is first given to tail enders, since farmers at the tail end are the most affected. (Sindh Express Edit)
  • The issue of establishing diplomatic relations with Israel keeps popping up in Pakistan. During the Musharraf regime, foreign minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri and many other government functionaries were seen advocating friendship with Israel. During Imran Khan’s rule, the issue again came to the fore. Imran Khan was called a Jewish agent. Now it has come to light that a Pakistani delegation has visited Israel and met with the Israeli President. The government has denied that any official or semi-official delegation went to Tel Aviv. These days Israel and Saudi Arabia seem to be getting closer. Significantly, pro-Saudi circles in Pakistan fell silent on the issue. (Edit Jasarat)
  • Elections to Municipal Corporations, Municipal Committees and Union Councils took place in Balochistan after 9 years despite an atmosphere of political tensions. Result shows that the electorate mostly favoured independent candidates. Polling took place in 4456 constituencies on Sunday in 32 of the 34 districts of Pakistan’s largest province. The remaining constituencies, had returned 1584 candidates unopposed. The fact that so many candidates were elected without contest indicates that either those candidates were very influential or nobody was interested in contesting the election against them. According to unofficial, unconfirmed results obtained on Sunday night, 1310 independent candidates had a clear lead in their respective constituencies. While Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) won 217 seats, Balochistan Awami Party 146, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party 94, National Party 64, BNP (Mengal) 54, PPP 47, PML-N 36 and PTI 22 seats. This shows that the ruling BAP has been pushed to the third position behind the Independents and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.  Local body elections in two districts of Quetta and Lasbela will be held after delimitation., Gwadar Rights Movement won 26 out of 33 seats at stake in the Gwadar district. (Edit Jang)
  • The turnout in Balochistan’s local body elections was surprisingly high. Voting was also generally peaceful. In some districts the poll percentage was fifty to fifty-five percentages which is a record. All the political parties had entered the fray but winners were mostly independents. This is an indication that the grip of political parties in Balochistan is weak. If Balochistan a very backward and vast province could hold the local body elections successfully why can’t these elections be held in other provinces. There is a need for all political parties to support the Local Government system. Like General Elections, local body elections too should be constitutionally mandated so that the basic problems of the people at the grassroots can be addressed by their elected representatives. (Edits – Daily Pakistan, Qudrat)
  • The conditions of primary schools at union council level across AJK is pathetic. The students are compelled to sit under the Open sky; they have neither washrooms nor clean drinking water facilities; there are no benches to sit. There is an acute shortage of teachers as well. Political leaders keep claiming that the literacy rate in AJK is more than any other province of Pakistan but the situation at Ground Zero is disturbing. The Government should address the issue giving it the highest priority. (Siasat Edit)

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