Pak Urdu Media Digest, June 27

NEWS

• Pakistan has been clearly ignored by China as it held high-level talks on global development in Beijing yesterday. The dialogue was hosted by President Xi Jinping and attended by Russian President Putin. Leaders from India, Iran, Egypt, Fiji, Algeria, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries participated.  However, the Pakistan Foreign Office and its spokesmen are silent on the avoidance of Pakistan by China. (Jang)

• Differences in the Chaudhary family are out in the open. Chaudhary Wajahat Husain, the brother of Chaudhary Shujaat Husain has announced to form his own party. Addressing a press conference in Gujrat Chaudhary Wajahat Husain said “Our opponents could not defeat us in our constituencies and districts, so now they are creating rifts in our family to defeat us from inside”. Member of National Assembly Chaudhary Hussain Ilahi, who also spoke on this occasion, said “Now there is no way to turn back. The ML-N government is filing cases against Chaudhary Pervez Ilahi and Moonis Ilahi”. (Islam Daily)

• MQM Deputy Convener Wasim Akhtar has said that if the agreement with the MQM is not acted upon we will make our own decisions. We had informed the Court and Election Commission about our doubts regarding voter lists, delimitation of constituencies and the census. Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Wasim Akhtar said that Election Commission must take notice of our apprehensions. PPP is responsible for malpractices and violence that marred civic elections in 14 districts of Sindh. We had 7 members in National Assembly. We severed our connection with PTI and supported PDM. Now they are enjoying power at the Centre and in Punjab. But they have done nothing to act on the agreement they had made with us. If the situation is not changed then we will be free to act in our own way. (Intekhab Daily)

• Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and discussed a number of issues of common interest, as well as opportunities to promote bilateral relations, especially in the military field. Following the orders of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz awarded the King Abdul Aziz Medal of Saudi Arabia to General Bajwa. (Nawaiwaqt, Ummat, Daily Jinnah, Daily Express)

• There is a possibility of more oil supplies to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia. According to sources in the Petroleum Division, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are in talks to borrow 3.6 billion dollars’ worth oil instead of 1.2 billion dollars. Under the previous regime, Saudi Arabia gave a 4.2 billion package last year. The package included a 1.2 billion dollars oil payment facility. (Nawaiwaqt, Daily Express, Daily Jinnah)

• PPP won the local body elections in 14 districts of Sindh. According to unofficial results, the PPP has won 137 municipal committee seats, GDA 14 seats, PTI 6 seats and JUI  5 seats while 12 independents have been elected. The PPP is well ahead of other parties with 230 seats in town committees. (Ummat)

• Allama Ghulam Ghous Baghdadi, Central Nazim-e-Ala of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan has blamed the Sindh government and poll body for the violence that rocked the first phase of local body elections in Sindh. He said both the Sindh government and the Election Commission have failed to hold peaceful and transparent elections. (Jasarat)

• Faisal Nadeem, Central Provincial President of Allah Akbar Tehreek alleged that EC and law enforcement agencies remained silent spectators during the first phase of Sindh local bodies polls. After a visit to polling stations in Nawabshah, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, and other places, he said authorities failed to make fool proof security arrangements. (Jasarat)

• Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami leader Qari Usman charged the ruling Pakistan People Party with unleashing violence during the first phase of Sindh local body elections. “The ruling party made Sindh bleed. All the 14 districts covered in the first phase turned into battlefields by flag holders of democracy”, he said. (Jasarat)

• Maulana Muhammad Saleh, Secretary-General, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Sukkur District, alleged torture of his party workers, and said that the PPP, in collaboration with the Election Commission, appointed officers of its choice at all the polling stations so that they can win through the rigging. In a statement the Maulana further said that PPP workers in Kandhkot, Tangwani, Panu Aqil and Jotas had subjected JUI workers to torture. Several workers were seriously injured but the administration seemed helpless despite complaints. (Jasarat)

• In the tribal belt of Halim Zai tahsil, flour is sold by lottery system. This is due to shortage. The area is getting only 90 sacks for a population of 70 thousand. (Aeen)

• Senior Politician and former Senator Nawabzadah Haji Mir Lashkari Khan Raeesani said youth are lured to drugs to stop them from getting involved in the struggle for rights. This is a matter of grave concern and we all should work to save our future generations from drug addiction. (Qudrat)

• Shaheed Gulfat Hussain Police Station Peshawar arrested three dealers dealing in illegal arms under the pretext of arms permits. Nine illegal rifles were recovered from them. The arrests were made on a tip off.  They confessed to illegal arms transactions. (Daily Pakistan)

• Militants threw low-intensity bomb on FC vehicle at Mauladad Phatak area of Jacobabad, Sindh, leaving one pedestrian dead, and eight others injured. The FC officials were unhurt and their vehicle too was safe. One of the militants was nabbed by area people and handed over to police. He belongs to Dera Murad Jamali in Balochistan. He told police that his accomplice had escaped. He also told police that they were trailing the FC vehicle from Balochistan itself. (Sindh Exp., June 26)

• Pakistan Tax Bar Senior Vice President said the government is increasing the burden on the people while taking hard decisions to control the economy. He and other office bearers of the Tax Bar criticised that all the decisions are being taken according to IMF conditions. The IMF is not satisfied with the present tax targets and there is a strong possibility of further taxes to mop up 450 billion rupees. They said that the tax laws are so complicated that people find loopholes to avoid paying taxes, instead of coming into the tax net. Unfortunately, we don’t have a stable economic policy, so politics always affects our economy. (Intekhab Daily)

• The head of Jamiat Ulema e Islam (S) and Deputy Administrator of Jamia Dar Ul Uloom, Haqqania Maulana Hamid Ul Haq Haqqani has strongly criticised the State Bank and four private banks for challenging the Federal Sharia Court ruling in the Supreme Court. It is a declaration of war against Allah and his prophet. He said that the rulers should come to their senses and ask for forgiveness from Allah. The State Bank should immediately withdraw its appeal from the Supreme Court. (Dunya Daily)

• Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will today consult with allies on the IMF program and inflation. The IMF Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policy Framework is expected to be delivered to Pakistan in two days. Pakistan has requested that the loan program be increased from 6 billion dollars to 8 billion dollars.  According to Finance Ministry sources, the agreement with the IMF will take place after the budget is approved. The volume of the budget will be around 10,000 billion rupees. (Nawaiwaqt, Daily Express, Ummat)

• PTI candidate Fazal Mulla won the by-election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s PK-7 Swat constituency, according to unofficial, unconfirmed results. The main contest was between PTI and ANP candidates. (Daily Express)

• Afghan security forces have arrested three persons, and seized more than a dozen assault rifles and ammunition during a series of operations in the southern province of Kandahar. Senior Provincial Police Officer Mullah Abdul Ghani Haqbeen said on Sunday that heavy weapons seized during the operations included a total of 6 AK-47 Stokes, 13 pistols, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and 19 rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). (Nawaiwaqt, Daily Express)

• Residents of Mir Lal Bakhsh Ward of Gwadar and the adjoining areas staged a protest in front of Makkah Masjid under the leadership of Area Councilor Akram Fida on the issue of power outages for the past one week. Reaching the square, they set up barricades and blocked the road. They chanted slogans against the COSCO department. (Nawaiwaqt, Daily Express)

EDITORIALS  

• According to the federal finance minister, the government has decided to include real estate brokers, builders, car dealers, restaurants and salons in the tax net. He said that there will be no coercion against any sector. The government will soon bring professionals into the tax net too. (Edit Jang)

• Every State levies taxes and in return makes peoples’ day-to-day life comfortable. This does not seem to be happening in our country. Taxes are collected from all but ease and comfort of life are limited to a few sections. Most people live very humiliating times and lives. As long as we do not treat all equally, class differences will keep rising and society will never progress. (Ibrat, Edit)

• Action must be taken against all those responsible for violence during the first phase of Sindh civic polls held yesterday. Measures be also taken to ensure next phases are peaceful so that voters and candidates do not have to experience any inconvenience. (Sindh Exp, Edit)

• Elections were neve peaceful in Pakistan. Some violent incidents always happened. But in recent times have seen a spurt in mismanagement, clashes and violent incidents. A case in point is yesterday’s civic elections in 14 districts of Sindh.  Nearly every polling station witnessed violence. At some places, dacoits kidnapped the entire polling staff with the ballot box. At some places, ballot papers were not available and at some other places, the names of the candidates were wrongly printed or the election symbol was missing. During the byelections to the National Assembly in February last year, poll code and other regulations were violated. There were violent clashes as well. After a thorough enquiry, the Election Commission made a set of recommendations for reforms, which were never acted upon by the government. If the electoral system is not amended or reformed, elections will never be transparent and post-poll turmoil will continue. (Edit-Dunya Daily)

Columns

• We have general polls lined up next year. But, PTI does not look like returning to power. Does that mean the establishment has plans of “new experiments”? If yes, it will only mean repeat of critical times for the country. Imran Khan and his aides have been lashing out against the establishment ever since PTI went out of power. It is the same PTI leaders who were never tired of singing praises for the establishment; today they are all out in criticism of the establishment. Imran Khan’s aide, Fawad Chaudhary said in a recent interview that judiciary and establishment are two political forces and they have never been neutral in the country’s history. The establishment and judiciary are always on the side of one or other political party. Incidentally, though establishment claims these days to be neutral, it is the establishment’s engineering that leads to the fall and rise of political parties. The way the establishment seems to be helping the new government, it leaves a clear message that the PDM government has no problem till November, till retirement of the current army chief. Whosoever enjoys the new army chief’s support, will run the country. PTI’s future will be decided much before next general elections because several senior leaders can leave PTI before polls. If parties in the coalition government want to win the next elections, they will have to announce some relief packages for people before polls. But the government can give any relief package, when it gets some substantial help. If the financial mess gets thicker, nothing can stop Pakistan becoming another Sri Lanka. Merely putting more taxes on people cannot improve the economy; we will have to boost productivity. But that look dim because the establishment wants to continue with atomic programs. When we are out to make a country a security State, then peoples’ interests are bound to suffer. The country faces more challenges within than without. It is the establishment and not politicians that are responsible for the country’s bad shape. The political challenges can be sorted out politically and not through experiments by third force, namely the establishment. And it can happen only when political parties are given free hand. (Sindh Exp. Akhtar Hafeez)

• We should take lessons from Sri Lanka. Its economy was better than Pakistan’s. But, look at Sri Lanka today. But neither bureaucrats nor rulers are prepared to take lessons. I think rulers today should work voluntarily for the country and should not take any allowances and other material benefits in exchange for their services to the country. If rulers and bureaucrats make some sacrifices, it can help the country come out of the economic crisis. If the law makers take inspiration from GDA member in the National Assembly, Saira Bano Wassan who has stopped taking any benefits from the government, it will help save huge amounts. Also, all political parties should come forward and start giving up whatever concessions and benefits they are getting to help the economy recover. If politicians do not do this, they only will be responsible for whatever difficulties the country suffers. It is politicians who have brought the country to current state pitiable phase. (Sindh Exp., Ali Thaheem)

• Though Bilawal extended friendly gestures unto India the foreign ministry countered it immediately thus sending signals to the Bhutto scion that he could not do anything on his own. He might be paying visits to foreign countries but he cannot make any changes in the country’s foreign policy. But, if he wants to be remembered as a strong foreign minister, he would have to do something that brings Pakistan in higher ranking at global level. He might not do that but he must at least do something that can put a country like India under pressure. If he cannot do that too, then he should do some such thing which helps bring down Pakistan’s problems. So far, he has not been able to do anything that can add to his feather as a foreign minister. If he had done something to get Afghanistan aid in its current times of calamity, it would have won him a lot of praise from all sides. If he thinks that he can get credit for taking Pakistan out of FATF’s grey list then even his supporters might not agree with him. There are always some sustained efforts behind such developments and if at all anyone is to be given some credit, it could be partly to Imran Khan. Efforts made during Nawaz Sharif government’s times also can be cited as amongst the reasons for the impending exit from the grey list. In fact, it is the right time for Bilawal to do something memorable as a foreign minister, but it calls for a lot of hard work and efficiency. If he wants to be remembered as a good foreign minister, then he would have to do at least two things: one -raise voice against India for oppression of Muslims in India, two -mobilize the world community for help to the Afghans in distress. Both are tough tasks for him. His mother’s killers are Taliban. If he wants to do something for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, it would get him criticism from far and wide. That is one major reason why he has not yet paid a visit to Afghanistan though he has visited several countries. Also, those who are ruling Afghanistan today, do not like Bilawal because he has been giving statements against them. Putting pressure on India to stop ill-treating Muslims there is something that does not go well with Bilawal’s image and personality. His team does not have any such mindset to understand such issues. Hence, in view of all such factors, Bilawal cannot do anything worth noting during his stint as foreign minister. He will have to change himself a lot and work hard to step into the big boots of his grandfather Zulfikar Bhutto. It requires more than a word “Bhutto” in your name to do something different and memorable and later be remembered for one’s achievements. (Sindh Exp, Dastgir Bhati, June 26)

• Instead of boosting industrialization, our policies and our new taxes are resulting in closure of industries.  Just give a thought as what more harm will be done to our economy with the newly announced super tax. It will lead to closure of industries, less exports and rise in unemployment! Levying of this super tax has led to a market crash and the market suffered losses just in a day aggregating double the amount of what we have got from China as a loan. After the market crash, even the dollar has become costlier and Pakistan rupee has gone still downward. IMF is not satisfied with the removal of subsidy on petrol. It wants a levy of Rs.50 per litre.  The super tax is levied on textiles, automobiles, airlines, oil and gas, beverages, sugar mills, banking and 13 industrial institutions amongst others. We fail to understand if all this falls under the heading of “tax” or if it is a new kind of “extortion” from big capitalists! For God’s sake, make this thing easy for those who run this country or it will be like cutting the very branches on which we have been surviving. (Kawish, Mohamad Khan Aabroo, June 26)

• In our country, the politicians, and their workers never accept defeat. They claim that they were removed by certain powers to bring in people of their choice. Every defeated political party after the elections repeated the same statement. Imran Khan is not lagging behind in such claims. He claims that he was removed through a conspiracy hatched by America. There may be some truth in it. The game was played by Sharif and Zardari families. But there was somebody who was supporting and patronizing them. Now, they are filing cases against Imran Khan. This is also a part of our politics to harass our opponent continuously after getting power. Now Imran Khan has accepted that taking different parties with him to form the government was his mistake. He should have sat in the opposition. The allies are always with the ruling party for their own interests or agenda. The same thing is happening with the present government. It is also working under the pressure from its allies and its fate is uncertain. (Dunya Daily-Rasul Baksh Rais)

• PTI candidate Fazal Mulla has won the by-election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s PK-7 Swat constituency, according to unofficial, unconfirmed results. The main contest in the by-poll was between PTI and ANP candidates. ANP leader Aimal Wali Khan says he will challenge the results after consultations in the party. There is no surprise in the result. Since there is a PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, its candidate wins. So, there is nothing to worry about. If there is a PML-N government in Punjab, only their candidates will win in the by-elections. There will be the rigging complaints by ANP but no one will listen to them. Likewise, in Punjab by-elections, PML-N will be successful. And PTI will start complaining of rigging but to no avail. In the forthcoming general elections, the common man will go to the polling booth with the dream of solving the basic problems with his ballot, but no one can assure him that the problems will be solved. However, now it is up to the voters to decide what kind of Pakistan they want, whether they want a country that borrows dollars, borrows oil, and lives on debt, or they want to get rid of such problems as well as individual problems.   (Mohammed Akram Choudhary – Nawaiwaqt)