Pak Urdu Media Digest, July 29, 2022

Editorials:

1.The Supreme Court’s orders on Punjab chief minister have led not only to confrontation amongst political parties, but fingers too are raised against institutions. It is not common man but the very rulers are raising fingers against Supreme Court orders. We had already warned not to take political disputes to courts because once in courts, these disputes can turn into big controversies and big fights after court orders. Supreme Court orders on Punjab chief ministership have sparked off several other debates and confrontations and it is a big question as to how political parties and other institutions will resolve them. We know very well that no Governor rule can be imposed in any province without recommendation of that provincial assembly and nor is it possible to ban entry of federal home ministers into any province. They are all empty threats from both sides to each other. Political matters should not be over-stretched at the cost of the constitution. If we are facing one after another crisis, it is only because we keep violating the constitution time and again. Hence, political parties and institutions should function within their given constitutional limitations. The solution lies in abiding by the constitution. (Pahenji Akhbar Edit, July 28)

2. Sindh government should take immediate note of police crackdowns in Karachi villages and also of the police using violence on villagers at Abdullah Shah Ghazi village. Government should also take into custody police officials who are supporters of the builder mafia. Villagers must be compensated for their losses. All the localities near this village be also regularized so that rights of natives are protected; this will also save Sindhis from getting reduced to minority in Karachi. (Kawish Edit, July 28)

3.After the end of Hamza Shehbaz’s government, doubts are being expressed in the political circles about the future of the federal government.  It is frequently reported in the media that the real leadership of the Muslim League (N) i.e., Mian Nawaz Sharif and his close advisors are of the opinion that leaving the coalition government and holding new elections is the only way forward.  PM Shahbaz Sharif has expressed his helplessness. Before Shahbaz Sharif became the PM, there was an impression about him that he was aware of the Pakistani and the global economy and was good with administrative ability. But his 3-month performance has disappointed those who had expectations from him. (Edit Jasarat)

4.Heavy rains have left a trail of destruction in Balochistan, Sindh and Southern districts of Punjab. The meteorological department had warned of extraordinary heavy rains this year but looking at the arrangements for flood relief, the provinces had not taken the warning seriously. According to reports more than 100 people have died in Balochistan alone. It is feared that the real figure would be more than that because due to communication disruption all casualties may not have been reported. The same position is seen in the interior of Sindh and Punjab. Rains were creating havoc and our rulers were engaged in political slugfest. They did not have time to take preventive or protective steps. (Edit-Dunya Daily)

5.The powers given to the Supreme Court  by the constitution cannot be reduced, but there can be room for change in technical matters. For example, it is a reasonable proposal that a right of appeal should be given to decisions of cases filed directly or under the suo moto powers of the Chief Justice. If the case is heard by three judges, then a bench of five or seven judges should be formed to hear the appeal. This will largely resolve the grievances that arise in cases heard directly in the Supreme Court. (Edits – Daily Pakistan, Nai Baat)

6.The graph of inflation in Pakistan is continuously going upwards and the government seems unable to control it.  Depreciation of the rupee against the dollar has also become uncontrollable. The internal crisis and problems of the people are increasing due to which the popularity of the government is decreasing with each passing day. Prime Minister Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif while addressing the National Assembly Wednesday said that oil and gas prices are not under his control. Through this statement, Shehbaz Sharif is clearly giving a message to the nation that running the country as the Prime Minister is not his job. Interestingly, even before assuming the government, Shehbaz Sharif and his colleagues used to make statements every day that Imran Khan and his cabinet members are incompetent and it is not in their power to save the country from the storm of inflation, if we get the chance to run the government, we will overcome the problems and give relief to the people. Pakistan Muslim League (Qaida-e-Azam) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is absolutely correct in saying that the common man is worried about inflation and all parties should come together to find a solution. This is not the time to cause more damage to the country by creating political differences. Parties inside and outside Parliament associated with the government and the opposition should come together and prepare a plan of action. (Edit Nawai Waqt)

7.On the one hand, the government is engaged in political manipulation and our political leaders are busy pulling each other’s legs. On the other hand, a large part of Sindh and Balochistan is submerged in floods. While in Punjab, some areas of Dera Ghazi Khan have been affected by flood, houses and cattle have also been washed away. From Gilgit to Gwadar and from Chitral to Karachi, the entire country is reeling under severe floods. But there are public representatives who are running behind stringless kite of statements. Constitution, which gives the status of mother to the state but the political leadership tends to interpret the constitution according to their preferences rather than being concerned about the subjects. Helpless citizens are looking to the government, in which all political parties except Jamaat-e-Islami are present. Yet only soldiers of the Pakistan Army and workers of Jamaat-e-Islami are seen in the field of flood relief. The federal and provincial governments should suspend all their political engagements and concentrate on helping the victims of rains and floods.  (Edit Ummat)

News:

8.As a good friend, China has provided urgent assistance to Pakistan’s disaster-stricken areas, we believe that the Pakistani government and people will recover from this disaster as soon as possible. According to Gwadar Pro, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian   was asked during the press conference whether Balochistan is receiving a new relief package from China to help in the disaster caused by heavy rains. He replied: “I have noted that Balochistan has been devastated by floods caused by heavy monsoon rain. China has urgently provided food packages to the affected areas, small power generation equipment and other humanitarian aid to help local people overcome their hardships. (Jasarat)

9. ndus Water Commissioner Mehr Ali Shah contacted his Indian counterpart AK Pal and asked him to schedule an inspection of the controversial water projects. (Jasarat)

10. Acting Governor of Sindh Agha Siraj Khan Durrani met the new Consul General of Russia, Andrey Fedorov, at the Governor’s House. During the meeting, there was a detailed discussion on investment opportunities in Sindh and increasing cooperation in various fields. (Jasarat)

11. The FIA Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing to Terrorism (CTF) Directorate has been activated since the FATF team is to arrive in Pakistan in August. AML and CTF circles have also been established across the country including in Karachi.  Abdul Rauf Sheikh has been appointed as the Acting Deputy Director of AML and CFT Circle in Karachi. AML Directorate Circles will collect data on successful anti-money laundering operations. (Jang)

12.  Senior leader of PML-N Ishaq Dar has postponed his return. According to a private TV channel, his legal advisors have told him that he should remain in London till Supreme Court gives a verdict on his petition. At present, the SC is closed for winter holidays so a new date for his petition could not be obtained.   It should be remembered that Ishaq Dar has announced to return to Pakistan in the last week of July. PML-N has not released any statement about the return of Ishaq Dar. (Ausaf Daily)

13. Pakistan has asked for details of the schedule for inspection of the controversial water projects from India. According to the sources, the Indus Water Commissioner telephonically contacted his India counterpart A K Paul and asked him about the schedule for inspection of the controversial water projects. Pakistan has asked that it should be allowed to inspect the water projects of the Chenab River   and the dams constructed on Sutlej, Ravi and Beas Rivers. According to the law, India is bound to permit Pakistan to inspect the mentioned projects. (Intekhab Daily)

14. Leader of PTI and former governor of Sindh Imran Ismael has said that Imran Khan has chosen Sindh as his next target. He will camp in Sindh to release it from the grip of Asif Zardari. Salim Adil Shaikh was arrested because he had raised his voice against the corruption of the Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. The SP is a man of Rana Sana Ullah. We want to tell the police that they are servants of the state police and not of any political party. Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad he said that soon the people of Sindh will see a new sun rising in the province just like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. Sindh has an administrative system based on cruelty and brutality. They are throttling the media. (Intekhab Daily)

15. Leader of the Balochistan National Party Sardar Asad Jan Mengal has said that recent rains and floods have created havoc in many areas of the province. The federal and provincial governments are doing only lip service. The affected people should be helped immediately on war footing. He said that the floods have destroyed standing cotton, chilly, tomato and wheat. Solar panels of tube wells have become useless. (Intekhab Daily)

16. Jamaat e Islami Chief Siraj Ul Haq has said that national resources are being spent on a few selected persons instead of spending them for the nation.   We have to get rid of these corrupt people and take the country on the road to progress. He asked the people to make the Jamaat e Islami victorious in the civic elections. (Dunya Daily)

17. In a statement, Balochistan National Party, while rejecting the investigation commission formed on the Ziarat terror killings, stated that report of two probe bodies, Tutak and Dalbandin Judicial commissions have not seen the light of the day. (Urdu Point)

18. All the names suggested by the Chief Justice for appointment as judges in the Supreme Court were rejected in the Judicial Commission meeting by the majority opinion. Sources said, there were 5 votes against the nominations, and the meeting was terminated abruptly.   Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, Justice Tariq Masood, Attorney General, Federal Law Minister, and Member Akhtar Hussain voted against the nominations. (Daily Express, Ummat, Daily Jinnah, Nawai Waqt)

19, The Peshawar High Court dismissed the petition filed against the government’s negotiations with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). A two-member bench heard the case filed on behalf of the families of the martyrs of the APS tragedy. (Daily Express, Nawai Waqt)

20. The details of Pakistan’s foreign debt were presented in the National Assembly according to which the total foreign debt as of 31st May 2022 is 126 billion dollars. The government’s foreign debt has reached 85.64 billion, while the IMF debt owed by Pakistan is 7.29 billion. The written response stated that the foreign debt owed by the private sector is 11.58 billion dollars and Pakistan will have to pay 95.4 billion dollars in interest and principal from 2022 to 2059. (Daily Express)

21. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that PML-N is in favor of general elections from the beginning, but they are silent because of allies. General elections can be held if KP and Punjab Assembly are dissolved. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said that the foreign funding case should be decided immediately. (Ummat, Daily Jinnah)

22. The President of the Central Association of Trade Unions of Pakistan, Kashif Chaudhry said that businessmen have decided not to submit electricity bills with sales tax. in a statement he said that there will be protest camps, sit-ins, and demonstrations outside the offices of electricity distribution companies on 2nd August across the country. Important decisions will be taken in an emergency meeting on 30th July to formulate the next plan of action at the national level. (Daily Express, Ummat, Nawai Waqt)

Columns:

24. The country has been going through tough times since two to three months. Political challenges, economic stress, twists and turns in elections and strange decisions by courts in recent times have started presenting the country as a failed state. The most recent issue emanates from Punjab chief ministership. In fact, constitutional crises in other countries are always seen as State crises. The Supreme Court’s credibility has come under cloud following its recent orders removing Hamza Sharif and bringing Pervez Elahi in as Punjab CM. Such controversies and debates also bring bad names for countries.  Since it is the establishment that has been taking all the burden on its shoulders, it should take immediate steps to save the country’s interests and image. Any delay can take a big toll on the country. We have had experiences with dictatorship in our country. But, the country never got any Churchill-like leader or the likes of Tito and Castro. We are led by the ideology of Divine Origin Theory. More than generals and politicians, it is judges who can be blamed for harming democracy in the country. Even if the Supreme Court’s decision on Punjab chief ministership is as per constitution, when heads of 11 political parties have said that they have no trust in judges on bench, then why should they hesitate to set up a full bench to hear this matter? Setting up of full bench would have done good to the judiciary’s image. Pakistan belongs to all and we all have equal rights in our institutions and hence constitutional decisions should be based on merit strictly. Now, if this decision on Punjab chief ministership is on merit or not can be decided only by any   unbiased constitutional expert. But the way judges on bench look adamant and stubborn has not won them goodwill from people. (Pahenji Akhbar, Dr. Abdul Majeed Chandiyo, July 28)

25. If powers that be are still not serious about national level dialogue to set conditions right in country then time is not far away when we will get to see protests, slogans, rallies and demonstrations against the establishment. Once that stage arrives, we will have genuine national dialogue or a new social contract wherein the establishment will have no place or any say in that dialogue or social contract. The anti-establishment mood that we find around these days is not a temporary phenomenon, but it is gathering momentum. (Pahenji Akhbar, Idrees Lagari, July 28)

26. It is a fact that none else has spoken so much against the establishment as much as Imran Khan has spoken against the establishment. The likes of Sheikh Rashid, and Pervez Elahi et al known for being very close to the establishment, are also close to Imran Khant. Either they all have really become revolutionaries now, or all that we see is part of some strategy. On one hand, we have very critical times politically, and on the other hand economic conditions also do not allow setting up some caretaker government for three months, so that we can later hold polls. It is also no secret that whosoever forms government after polls, even that new government will find it tough to run the country. There are talks of some political broadmindedness in August or September; let us wait and watch out what happens. (Pahenji Akhbar, M B Soomro, July 28)

27. Times have changed. The affected individuals and political parties do not hesitate to attack those in the establishment or even ones at high places of judiciary. This never happened in the past where the parties and their leaders had to think hundred thousand times and then too, they would speak against the establishment or judiciary in indirect ways unlike now when all that is happening directly and on face. The fear of institutions, as witnessed in yesteryears, is no longer in the air as evident from the attacks these days. So much so that even rulers are speaking against the judiciary today. All this began on the day Imran Khan lost a no-confidence motion against him and courts opened late in night to hear the case. This had left every one surprised because never before courts sat so late in night to hear any case. This was the beginning of the phase when Imran Khan started lashing out against the judiciary   and now present rulers are also out against the judiciary. Even the establishment must be feeling uneasy about the way attacks are being made on the judiciary. Though the establishment always keeps trying to send out a message through its spokesman that no party is being helped or pampered, political parties, especially ones out of power, always complain that the establishment is interfering in the government affairs. Earlier, Nawaz Sharif and Mariam kept resenting the establishment’s interference and now Imran Khan says that the establishment is coming in his way. Imran began shouting against the establishment when he was removed from power. Now, even Bilawal speaks on such lines when he said in parliament two days ago : “Be it judiciary or establishment, there cannot be two constitutions  and two sets of laws in one country”. Whatever is happening in the country today, that is a clear signal that no party wants to be out of power. This is also for the fear that their leaders might face accountability charges once their parties are out of power. That is one big reason that the judiciary is under attack by parties and political leaders.  As long as PPP and PML-N were in power, in Islamabad and also in Punjab, it was ok with them. But, the day they lost Punjab to the PTI, the PPP and PML-N started feeling uneasy fearing some changes also at federal level fearing their being deprived of power at federal level. It is also in air that ties between PTI and the establishment that had come under stress, are getting back to normalcy. Though attempts are being made for reconciliation to forget past and start afresh, Imran Khan keeps saying that he will not ever compromise with robbers and thieves and will not spare them. This is coming in way of patch-up. (Sindh Express, Aijaz Mungi)

28. Information has been given in the National Assembly that every year more than 30 million tons of wheat is smuggled to Afghanistan from Pakistan.  This wheat from the quota of the citizens of Pakistan, especially the residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, is smuggled to the cities, towns, and villages of Afghanistan. Not only wheat but also rice, and ghee are smuggled. Who are the smugglers? Who are the wheat givers? Who are the border crossers? The authorities are well aware. Now Pakistan has decided to build three big hospitals in Afghanistan and pay for the hospital staff.  At present, a large number of Afghan patients come for treatment to hospitals in Pakistan, especially in Peshawar. Their students study in educational institutions in Pakistan and also receive regular stipends from the Government of Pakistan. The entire economy of the state of Afghanistan, political and commercial, rests on the incapable shoulders of Pakistan. It is impossible to imagine life in Afghanistan without Pakistan. Thousands of Afghans are still coming to Pakistan every day. Despite these favors, Afghanistan reciprocated Pakistan’s favors with evil and renegades wherever and whenever it pleased. After getting a big customer like Pakistan, the Taliban government doubled the price of coal. Even today Afghan Taliban are committing border violations. Pakistan expected the Afghan Taliban not to allow use of their territory against Pakistan as promised and to hand over Pakistani criminals to Pakistan. Instead of doing all this, they have made Tehreek-e-Taliban equal to the state of Pakistan. Rather, it forced Pakistan to negotiate with Tehreek-e-Taliban on an equal footing. (Jameel Margauz – Daily Express) ####