Pak Urdu Media Digest, July 11,2022

NEWS

  1. The Provincial Chief of Jamiat Ulema e Islam Balochistan and Federal Minister of Housing and works Maulana Abdul Wasai has said that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced 10 lakhs for the family of each person dead in the floods. Relief work also started in the flood affected areas. He said more than 60 people have died and billions of rupees worth property has been damaged. Substandard material was used to build dams.  That is why dams could not withstand the flood fury. Officials and contractors responsible for the construction of all such dams should be penalized. Police cases should be slapped on such persons.  They played with the lives of people. Nobody will be pardoned even if he is connected with any political party. (Intekhab, 10 July)
  1. The leader of the National Party Dr. Malik Baloch has criticised that a burning Balochistan appears beneficial to the rulers. Instead of solving the problems of the province they are adding fuel in the fire. They are unaware that this fire may burn them also.  The problem of missing persons is the biggest problem in the country. It violates the basic rights of a citizen. On the occasion of Eid, we demand that the missing persons should be traced that their families too can really celebrate Eid. He said that the federal government should sincerely work to control unemployment, inflation and the rising prices of petrol, gas and electricity. (Intekhab, 10 July)

COLUMNS

  1. A Urdu paper Wednesday reported the return of MQM leader, Babbar Ghauri to Pakistan, and carried reports that fit well with the country’s prevailing political scenario. After reading these reports, I have deduced that establishment fed up with Imran Khan has decided to bring together all three factions of MQM, discard Altaf Hussain and give leadership of United MQM to the person acceptable to MQM leaders and factions. Establishment, after getting inputs from its intelligence agencies, seems to have shortlisted Babbar Ghauri as one such leader who enjoys trust of most MQM leaders. That is why he was arrested on arrival five days ago from abroad at Karachi airport, but he was not handcuffed.  When he was produced in the court next day no serious charge was made against him. There are strong indications that he will get bail too. This haste could also be because of the second phase of civic polls on July 19 to check Imran Khan’s PTI getting more seats in Karachi. Establishment always wants election results as per its choice and that is the reason they always use MQM. The establishment helps MQM to get ministerial berths in federal government. On its part, MQM at times puts certain terms and conditions and at times it offers unconditional support.  Recently, MQM sent a message to PM Shahbaz asking him to tell PPP supremo Asif Zardari to implement the terms and conditions agreed to help PDM form the government in Islamabad. One of the conditions allows re-opening of MQM offices in Hyderabad and Karachi which have remained either closed or sealed since the Army Ops against MQM during Raheel Sharif’s time. Another condition calls for withdrawal of terrorism cases against Babbar Ghauri and Farooq Sattar and other MQM leaders.  I personally feel Zardari can go to any extent for the sake of maintaining his hold over the Sindh. This “any extent” means Zardari can say yes to any conditions of MQM and the establishment if that helps him retain his sway over Sindh. Bilawal is on record saying that whatever terms and conditions have been agreed to with MQM will be implemented.  Altaf Hussain may have sent a confidential message to Zardari and Bilawal about making Babbar Ghauri Sindh governor. It could be a major reason for VIP protocol given to Babbar from airport to court. If Babbar Ghauri gets the post of Sindh Governor, there is nothing surprising because right from the PM to Sindh Chief Minister and Sindh’s Acting Governor, all are facing corruption charges and yet are in the corridors of power because of blessings of powers who matter, that is the establishment. (By Dastgir Bhatti in Sindh Express, July 10)
  1. Inflation is a big issue across the world but it is nerve-breaking in Pakistan. The price of edible oil and ghee has gone up from Rs.300 to Rs.650 per kilo in the span of just two months. The price of flour has gone up from Rs.40 to Rs.100, and sugar is now costing Rs.110 per kg up from Rs.65 per kg. The wheat prices have come down globally but in Pakistan it is costing more. We are not talking about prices of vehicles, iron, cement and other such items which have gone sky high.  Fertilizer too has become costly. There is no power yet power tariffs are zooming up and power bills have hidden taxes too. Petrol prices have come down in the global markets from 123 to 100 dollars per barrel. But, we do not see any decline in petrol prices in Pakistan. No doubt that Imran Khan government had left behind a huge current account deficit, but present government too has not done anything to cheer up the common man, People are celebrating Eid this time with rain fury accompanied with high inflation and long power cuts. (By Mohamad Khan Abroo, Kawish, July 10)
  1. The bye elections for 20 Seats in Punjab that have fallen vacant are being seen as rehearsal for general elections ahead. Political survival and reputation of both PDM most especially PML-N and PTI are at stake. The impression from electioneering   suggests that both ML-N and PTI have 50:50 chances in these elections slated for July 17.   Whatever be the results, PTI has at least succeeded in putting pressure on the PDM Government and PML-N. The Punjab government has assured the Supreme Court that there would be smooth and fair polls, but PTI is skillfully creating the impression that the polls ahead would not be free and fair. Right now, both Imran Khan and Mariam Nawaz are busy addressing election meetings. Both attract large crowds. How this translates into votes remains to be seen. If PTI wins the bye polls, it would only mean peoples’ blind faith in Imran Khan and his party. The bye elections are being seen as the only solution to end the current political crisis in Punjab. The situation is in a state of flux and even groups doing poll surveys cannot say which way they see trends and which party is likely to win polls. This time PTI has no backdoor support as in the past. It is fighting on its own .On other hand, PML-N has PPP support and Mariam and Asifa Bhutto are to address election meetings. Since July 17 by-polls are being seen as a big fight for power in Punjab and later at the Federal level, it remains to be seen whether the losing party accepts the results? If PML-N loses, it will have no reason to cry because it is the ruling party Punjab. It will be a different case in case PTI loses. The PTI can try to create disturbances so that both the PDM government in Islamabad and the PML-N-led government in Punjab cannot deliver on their promises and PTI get peoples’ vote in the forthcoming general election. (By Khadim Malgani in Kawish, July 10)
  1. People closely watching election scenario must have realized that voter turnout in the elections after 2008 has been on decline. The voting was down to 30 or 40% in the recent civic polls. This reflects a growing sense of disenchantment amongst voters emanating from non-performance by elected representatives. By-election at Sindh’s Matli seat saw no more than 16 per cent turnout at most polling booths till 4 p.m., and final figure was 9%. This time also there are chances that only 25% may cast their votes as people are hit by huge water shortage and unending price rise. Even business community is not happy with raging inflation. (Kawish, Mustafa Jamali, July 10)