Pak Urdu Media Digest, June 29, 2022

NEWS

  • The Election Commission has warned Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of violating the code of conduct in the PP-7 by-election. The poll body also stopped him from inaugurating the dam in Kahuta saying that Kahuta Dam is a part of the PP-7 constituency of Rawalpindi. The District Returning Officer contacted the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary and informed him of the poll body directions. Prime Minister has since cancelled his visit to Kahuta. (Daily Express, Ummat, Daily Jinnah)
  •  People of Lyari and other parts of Karachi come out on streets protesting against long hours of load-shedding. The demonstrations created heavy traffic jams. The protestors pelted stones on police at Maripur; Police made baton charge, used teargas and fired in the air to disperse the protestors. A 70-year-old woman died in police action but the police attributed her death to medical reasons. Dharna at Maripur road went on for 22 hours. The protestors told the media that there was no electricity in their areas for 12 hours daily. They demanded police complaint against power distribution company, K-Electric. (Ibrat)
  • PTI chairman Imran Khan said that if Zardari and Sharif families bring 50% of their wealth allegedly stashed abroad, Pakistan will get out of its economic crisis. The PTI chairman said while economic crisis was followed by political crisis in Sri Lanka, external conspiracy was first created a political crisis in Pakistan, and followed it with an economic crisis. He said that he had warned the Neutrals several times and sent Shaukat Tareen to tell them that if this conspiracy succeeded, the country would have to pay a heavy price. (Daily Express)
  • PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain denied the PML-N’s claim of his support to Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz. “Chaudhry Pervez Elahi is our candidate for the post of Chief Minister of Punjab and PML-Q members should vote for him on the floor of Punjab Assembly. Our law makers should not be misled by spreading false rumors. (Nawai Waqt, Daily Express, Ummat, Daily Pakistan)
  • The five-hour-long meeting of the Judicial Commission chaired by the Chief Justice of Pakistan considered the appointment of seven judges to the Sindh High Court. However, no decision could be made. (Daily Express, Nawai Waqt, Daily Jinnah)
  • In response to Pakistan’s request for fresh loans, the UAE has offered to buy minority stake in publicly listed state-owned companies at a negotiated price. Accepting the offer could give a major boost for the cash-strapped government. It will also mark a shift from the traditional creditor relationship between Islamabad and Abu Dhabi. (Daily Express)
  • The United Arab Emirates has offered to buy shares in the Public Sector Companies of Pakistan and take a seat on the boards of directors. After accepting this offer the government can get a sigh of relief from the currency crunch. According to the sources the UAE government has offered to buy 10 to 12 percent shares of the government-owned companies. Finance Minister Miftah Ismael said that the government will seek to provide for the buyback of the shares after a pre-decided period. The UAE offer came in response to PM Shehbaz Sharif request for a loan. The request was made in April when he visited Abu Dhabi. Pakistan can get more than one billion dollars through this route. The bureaucracy is however, hesitant to accept the offer. (Ausaf Daily)
  • The cabinet decided to provide six-month multiplier visas to transporters from Afghanistan, Minister for Information Maryam Aurangzeb told a press conference after the federal cabinet meeting. She said the new visa regime would boost trade with Central Asia and Afghanistan. (Ummat, Nawai Waqt)
  • Unidentified miscreants opened fire on a polio team in Datta Khel Tehsil of North Waziristan, killing two policemen, and two polio workers and injuring a passer-by, and a child.  According to Deputy Commissioner North Waziristan Shahid Ali Khan, the polio team went to vaccinate children in the Tang Kali area of Datta Khel Tehsil. Immediately after the shooting, police and other law enforcement officials cordoned off the area and began searching for the suspects. (Ummat, Daily Jinnah, Daily Express, Nawai Waqt)
  • JUI leader of Hamad Azhar has said that the country is turning into a fascist state. The Supreme Court should take immediate notice of the situation. Speaking to the media outside of Lahore Sessions Court, he said   all the opposition parties are in power today but are unable to run the country. People are not happy. He declared the Punjab government illegal. (Intekhab Daily)
  • The leaders of the Awami National Party have said that the ban on the Students Union is a reflection of the dictatorship era. This is an alarming situation that our future generation is being victimized for political reasons. They were speaking in a program organized by the Students Federation. They said that the student unions provide leadership for society and politics. The ban on Students Unions should be lifted immediately. (Intekhab Daily)
  • PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary has said that the country is not going to be turned around by the speeches of the prime minister. The first condition for a turnaround is that Pakistan should be protected from robbers and thieves. The artificial set-up constructed with the help of the foreign power has to be dismantled and new elections should be held.  He asked the police not to use force against people protesting against load shedding. Their protest is justified. (Intekhab Daily)
  • Sindh Provincial President of Pakistan Peace Council Maulana Abdul Majeed Farooqi said the country is facing problems due to the measures taken against the Islamic teachings. Salvation is not possible without breaking the outdated system. Farooqi said that the implementation of the Islamic economic system is needed to get the country out of the economic crisis. (Jasarat)
  • The Central Association of Traders of Balochistan has stated that senior officials of the Education Department deployed their favourite juniors in colleges and centres of higher education.   This is worsening the educational eco system in the province. (Urdu Point)   

EDITORIALS

  • US Senator Charles Schumer has said former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s anti-US statements have damaged Pak-US relations. Speaking in the Senate, he refuted Imran’s allegation that the US conspiracy resulted in regime change in Pakistan. He hoped that Shahbaz Sharif would improve the situation. He offered to play every possible role for the betterment of Pak-US relations. (Edit Jasarat)
  • Political leaders in Pakistan have never agreed on the point that despite political differences, the country’s economic policies must remain stable. India offers a lesson. That country made great advances in the field of information technology; its software industry is now one of the largest in the world. This achievement did not come to India in a day. It adopted a policy for the growth of its IT sector. It remained unchanged despite the change of Governments. Result is that even developed countries today have software trade worth billions of dollars with India. Similarly, unless Pakistan’s political leadership, establishment and economic stakeholders agree that long-term plans should be formulated and implemented despite regime changes, we cannot get out of our dilemma. (Edits – Daily Pakistan, Jehan Pakistan)
  • In the times when nothing seems to be well, the government allies are unhappy; they started showing resentment against the Shehbaz government. All this would not send out the right signal to the people. There are reports that allies had expressed displeasure on not receiving funds. This seems to be the beginning. If their concerns and complaints are not attended to, their grievances can change into protests and such a development will not be good for a weak government like one led by Shehbaz. Hence, the government should keep up its promises with the allies. If all parties agree that inflation should be brought down, and provide some relief to the common man, the first thing they need to do is to keep differences aside and think of larger national interest. We expect this from PTI too. But, if PTI keeps doing politics and thus wants to keep adding crisis after crisis, it can make a big dent in PTI image. Inflation is high and yet people are keeping their cool. They are quiet because people understand the gravity of the situation, and they want to save the country from bankruptcy. If allies of the government and PTI derail such good sentiments of people, it can lead to serious consequences affecting not only people but very political parties as well. Hence, they all need to join hands to work together keeping differences aside for larger good of all and thus take country out of the crises it is in. (Ibrat Edit)
  • Federal and provincial governments make tall claims about fighting poverty. They claim governments are cutting down their expenditure and putting more taxes on rich and the elite. No doubt these announcements are praise-worthy but the irony is that though big statements and claims are made from time to time, implementation is the area where we fail. Hence, the government’s first priority must be to address concerns of the poor, more so since more are slipping into poverty. Life has become a tough struggle even for the white-collared section. Many of them are committing suicide because they cannot see their families starving. This is a sad state of affairs; those at high places need to give it a thought whether they should try to get people some relief or whether more people be exposed to miserable life? (Kawish Edit, June 28)
  • The law and Shariat system are in support of tail end people and their first right on water. The authorities should take notice of injustice being meted to tail end people and should see that such people get water for their survival. (Pahenji Akhbar Edit, June 28)
  • The monopoly practices by pharmaceutical companies are resulting in shortage of medicines. It is the government’s responsibility to see that these companies do not play with peoples’ lives through artificial shortages. The owners of pharmaceutical companies must be bound with the commitment that they do not unnecessarily hike prices, nor shortages. If these companies are not checked from their malpractices, it can lead to several patients losing their lives. Hence, government needs to step in to ensure that medicines are available wherever there are shortages, according to media reports. (Sindh Express Edit)
  • Just a few days back the allies of the ruling coalition have shown absolute confidence in the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. They had even supported the steep hikes in POL prices and other hard decisions. But the last two- three days are indicating a change in the wind.  On Monday at least three allies, MQM, Balochistan Awami Party and JUI (F) openly articulated their differences on the floor of the National Assembly. The Shehbaz government came to power only two and a half months back. To keep balance in a multi-party government is a very difficult job. But it can be maintained if all political parties are consulted over every decision and no one is left out. The allied parties should also focus on national issues over local issues. (Edit-Dunya Daily)
  • Undoubtedly, large scale development tasks are underway in Gwadar on a large scale but the fact remains that basic issues of Balochistan are not solved. That is why the region is witnessing public protests. Long hours of load shedding, scarcity of water and illegal fishing have increased problems of the people. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in his current visit to Gwadar, took stock of its problems, and issued directions for addressing various people’s issues. It is expected that officials will use all the resources to resolve the problems of the Gwadar people so that the negative effect on the development of Gwadar will end. (Nai Baat Edit)

COLUMNS

  • The law-and-order issues reported during the first phase of local bodies elections in 14 districts of Sindh province are indeed a matter of concern. It is the responsibilities of the Election Commission of India to organize a free, fair and transparent poll and ensure law and order during polling. The provincial governments can only help the election commission in its job.  The Commission has can requisition the services of Rangers to help the local police in maintaining law and order.   Before polls, the air was thick that Rangers and Army would be deployed on the polling day. But, taking lessons from 2018 polls, the decision to put rangers and army on duty was rolled back.  In 2018, when army and rangers were put on duty within polling stations, charges were leveled against them. That is the reason they were not posted at polling stations this time. Now by making the first phase controversial, attempts are being made to defer the second phase.   PPP can easily win in 12 or 13 of the 25 towns where polling is due. The opposition in Sindh will try to get the second phase deferred. It may even insist on delimitation of wards on ethnic basis. The Sindh PTI chief is demanding cancellation of first phase results. Only 17 PTI candidates were elected as councillors.  (Kawish, Barrister Zameer G. June 28)
  • PPP has made full abuse of official machinery for its big victory in the first phase of local bodies elections held on Sunday but powerful protests in all 14 districts where polls were held have conveyed that Sindh people not only know how to assert their rights but are also strong enough to get their rights.   The way people were excited and enthusiastic this time   will send out message clear and loud that Sindh people will not take it lying low if any attempt is made to steal their vote in future. (Pahenji Akhbar, Idrees Lagari, June 28)
  • PPP, with money and government machinery at its disposal, has won almost half of Sindh in recent civic polls. But, the main issue for PPP is winning Karachi. It is a matter of record that Karachi has its own identity, and the people have different issues. Also, unlike rural people, urbanites are more mature and cannot be won over with mere slogans and statements. It is often seen that compared to rural parts; it is difficult to win over voters in cities politically. When MQM started its language stir in the 1980s, people came out in its support. But when PPP tried to bring Karachi politics into the national mainstream, it did not succeed. The only party that could give tough times to MQM in Karachi is PTI. Till today, PTI is popular in Karachi. If Imran Khan’s party can make it big in Karachi, then why not PPP and PML-N? PML-N might not be popular in Karachi because it is seen as Punjab’s party, but why PPP, despite being Sindh’s party, not making it big in Karachi? Is it because PPP has not worked hard for Karachi like it has been doing for the rest of Sindh? Or, is it because PPP and Karachi have different moods? Whatever be the reasons, this time PPP seems to be all out to give tough times to MQM in civic polls in Karachi. On the other hand, MQM itself is not in good position like it used to be in the past. (Sindh Express, Omar Qazi)
  •  The country’s economic crisis has affected all walks of life, but education and knowledge institutions have been hit the hardest. The recent budget and other government measures have made it difficult to publish books. Officials from the All-Pakistan Papers Merchant Association, an association of book publishers, and the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association, have warned that books could vanish from the market from 1st August due to increase in the price of paper. Textbook publishers in Lahore have taken the position that it is not possible for them to publish Punjab Textbook Board textbooks. If the situation continues, it will be impossible for the middle class to buy and read books. Students will not have their textbooks at the start of the new school year. There is no raw material available for paper mills in the country and no trees are grown to make paper. This is the situation with textbooks. The situation with books on other topics is even worse. The Paper Merchants Association demands that the government immediately remove duty on imported paper to zero. Three different duties are imposed on textbooks at present. According to a report, book reading was popular in Pakistan until the 1980s; it declined due to the rise of religious extremism and domestic violence. If the government does not realize the importance of knowledge, and education, on the one hand, thousands of people associated with this industry will lose their jobs. On the other hand, ignorance and illiteracy will be promoted in society. Ignorance reinforces religious extremism and increases the tendency for violence. Some wise people hope that the present government will abandon the policy of Imran Khan’s government and encourage paper mills in the country. (Dr. Tauseef Ahmed Khan – Daily Express)
  • Every three or four months there is an outcry over loans or the need for foreign debt. The country will have to borrow about USD 41 billion loans next year. If the economy is run as, it is now, the loan is expected to exceed USD 80 billion in the next two years. In these circumstances, China’s lending to Pakistan without reforms is raising many questions. Debts from China are a burden on the Pakistani economy. China’s agreements with Pakistan are tougher than the rest of the world. Despite Pakistan’s difficult situation in March, China took back the loan from Pakistan and if the loan repayment was delayed, there would have been room for further improvement between Pakistan and the IMF. There is no check and balance on Chinese loans. It has been observed that the next loan is given without looking at the results or the purpose for which the loan is given, that is leading to corruption and mismanagement. The requirement of friendship with China is that Pakistan does not have to look to the United States and the IMF. However, the fact is that the real friend is the IMF, not China. If the country is collecting Rs 6,000 billion in taxes, it is under the pressure from the IMF. Pakistan should reconsider its expensive loans and agreements with China. The PTI had made significant changes to the Chinese agreements which were in the national interest. This will help reduce Chinese debt. The economists say China’s debt can be called a temporary relief but it is not the solution. It would not be wrong to say that the prospect of a loan from China may be an obstacle to reform. Pakistan repaid a 2.3 billion loan to China in March. The same loan is being taken again in the month of June, with stricter conditions. China has obliged Pakistan to stay in the IMF program to get the loan. After the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Pakistan has borrowed the most from China, the interest of which is being paid on time. The IMF has in the past raised objections to China’s loans, it has raised concern over the payment of Rs 50 billion to Chinese IPPs by the present government. One of the main reasons for the non-resumption of Pakistan’s IMF package is the payment of Rs 50 billion to China. There are reports that the IMF intends to ban Pakistan from borrowing more from China in the next phase. This could create temporary difficulties for Pakistan, but it can also help set the economic record straight. (Qazi Javed, Jasarat)
  • We should take a relook at our 6000 -year -old irrigation systems; we should adopt modern scientific practices like rest of the world.  This will help us find a way to meet water shortages without going for new dams. The best and the only solution to meet with water shortage in Sindh is implementation of 1991 Water Treaty 1991. Let us also install telemetry system to ensure equitable water distribution and let unbiased experts audit usage of water. (Pahenji Akhbar, Engineer O. Khusk, June 28)
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