Pak Urdu Media Digest May 20

NEWS

  • ISPR has refuted the claim of Sheikh Rashid that interviews were being held for the caretaker Prime Minister in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, says senior journalist and TV anchor, Hamid Mir. (Jasarat)
  • According to political sources, the next two days are very important. Either you will hear the news that National Assembly is dissolved or the prices of petroleum products are increased. At a meeting of coalition parties, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said “We can’t take the risk of increasing the prices and ending the subsidy”. Maulana Fazl Ur Rahman, Asif Zardari, and Nawaz Sharif are against increasing the prices of petroleum products. If an election is to be held in October 2022, then the present government can work only till July 2022. It means the present coalition government will not have enough time to show results. (Ausaf Daily)

  • Federal Minister of Housing and Works Maulana Abdul Wasai said that Imran Khan must be held accountable for his bad performance as Prime Minister. He said that the coalition government is bearing the load of Imran failures. After he was ousted from power, Imran Khan has lost his mental balance and has become mentally sick. (Intekhab Daily)
  • Senior PML-N leader and former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has tweeted against the finance minister of his own Government. Ishaq Dar wrote on the microblogging site that whoever had handed over the Finance Ministry to Miftah Ismail for resolving the economic crisis is either unaware of the current state of affairs in the country or deliberately misleading the economy. He added Miftah Ismail owns a factory but is not an economist. With such ministers, the economy and society suffer worse than ever. (Urdu Point)
  • Fake social media accounts in the name of the Pakistan Army are busted.  Accounts run by the handles of Major General Faisal Mushtaq and Major General Asghar have turned out to be fake. Those who run these accounts belong to a political party, and they were fanning a narrative to create the impression that the party was being supported from within the army. Legal action is being taken against those who run these fake accounts. (Jasarat)
  • The CM Balochistan has issued an advisory to sack the Provincial Ministers and Parliamentary secretaries who had signed the no- confidence motion against his government. Accordingly, Provincial Parliamentary Secretaries Matha Khan Kakar, Shahina Kakar and Malik Naeem Bazai have been sacked. (Urdu Point, Jehan Pakistan)
  • Awami National Party (ANP) has decided to support the no-confidence motion against Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo. The party has accused the provincial government of inaction when people are reeling under the impact of various crises. (Qudrat).
  • The central spokesman of the Baloch Students Organization has voiced grave concern over the new wave of forced disappearance of Baloch students and women.  In a statement, he accused the government of crushing the constitutional and human rights of the Baloch. He said that the policymakers have always tried to control the political problems of Balochistan by guns and terror. This way of functioning has created more problems and hate in the province. After the Karachi University suicide blast, the police are terrorizing the entire Baloch community. The government can’t punish the entire community for the crime of one person. He warned that if the present trend continues then the outcome will be very negative. (Intekhab Daily)
  • Khattak Qaumi Movement is adamant on boycott of Polio Vaccination Drive in protest against electricity and gas load shedding problems in Kirk. It will start a mass contact movement on 24th May against the polio drive demanding resolution of these twin issues. (Aaj)
  • At a press briefing, the spokesperson of Sindh government Murtaza Wahab said that one of the accused in the May 12 Sadar bomb blast was killed in a CTD and intelligence operation in Maripur at 3 pm last night.   The mastermind Allah Dino was receiving instructions from Iran. He detonated the bomb through remote control. He was also involved in blasts on the railway tracks. Wahab pointed out that the accused Allah Dino had been out on bail in various cases. Time for courts to revisit the bail policy particularly in respect of terror accused, he remarked. (Jang)
  • According to Sindh government spokesman, Murtaza Wahab, Sindh government has started acting against those involved in recent terror acts in Karachi. Two militants from a banned group were shot dead in police action at Sadar. Another two militants have been taken in custody and explosive material and weapons have been seized from them. Wahab added that special teams have been setup under orders of additional IG, CTD who has prepared a plan against terror network. He also claimed that the network of the banned Sindh Revolutionary Army (SRA) has been dismantled.   (Sindh Express)
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have once again targeted by terrorists. The Station House Officer (SHO) of Shahpur police station in Peshawar was martyred in indiscriminate firing.   Police has launched a man hunt to nab the assailants with the help of CCTV footage. (Jang)
  • The water crisis in Sindh is getting worse with each passing day. Irrigation officials say that the water level in Kenjhar Lake, the largest source of water supply to Karachi, is rapidly declining. If this continues, it will create a ‘dangerous situation’ in the city. The Sindh Irrigation Department has alerted IRSA. (Daily Express, Ummat)

COLUMNS

  • In the post no-trust scenario, Imran Khan seems to be emerging as a formidable and strong leader, becoming a big headache not only for the coalition government but also for the establishment. This is the same Imran Khan who used to be seen as inexperienced. But he has succeeded in distracting peoples’ attention from failures of his government times. In fact, he has made people believe that the present rulers together with America had toppled the PTI government. Like a great actor and story-teller, Imran Khan is telling a story of foreign conspiracies against his regime.  First, he waved a letter from his pocket at a rally, and thus set suspense rolling about contents of the letter and later divulged name of America. Majority of people thought Imran Khan’s taking name of America was slip of the tongue, but later it became clear that it was Imran Khan’s skill which made it look like a slip of tongue. Thereafter, Imran Khan is repeating the same charge. Pakistan has been doing politics on anti-America card. This is happening elsewhere too in a world where America is presented as a villain. Imran Khan first named Nawaz Sharif, then Zardari followed by Fazlur Rehman and some rebels in his party and ultimately, he included the establishment too as part of foreign conspiracy against his government. Surprisingly, though intelligence and other military have said on more than one occasion that there is no evidence of what Imran Khan keeps saying, Imran Khan stands firm, not caring for consequences the country can suffer; he keeps lengthening this story. In the midst of all this, Imran Khan is forgetting in what state our economy has now landed. He is also forgetting that the Pakistan economy survives only on foreign loans. Whatever Imran Khan did during the last days of his government including his acts of giving subsidies on petrol and power were well-planned with an eye on his political future instead of focusing on national issues; it is because of his actions the economy today is in a very unenviable condition. Most people in the country live life below the poverty line. Most of them cannot afford three-time meals for their families every day, not to mention of people unable to afford good medical care for their families or good education for their wards. The current rulers are in the most unenviable condition. They can neither speak on why they chose to take over Imran Khan’s sinking government nor can the alliance partners give up the government fearing political impact all parties will have to face whenever elections are held.  If any Baloch or Sindhi leader had spoken the way Imran Khan keeps talking against the establishment these days, he would not have been spared. This is one of the widespread whispers these days. That is one of strong reasons that some leaders in the ruling coalition have started wondering whether Imran daring to speak against any and every one, is part of some plan to bring him back in power and allow him stay in power for 10 years as was heard in political circles till some weeks ago? Political leaders and some of coalition partners are of the view that the type of politics being played by Imran Khan and his big speeches on foreign conspiracies cannot be Imran Khan’s brain work especially because he is new to power corridors. (M B Soomro in Pahenji Akhbar, May 19)
  • Even as Imran Khan is going to announce at the Multan meeting on May 20, the date for his Long March to Islamabad to force early polls, Sheikh Rashid says some interviews have been held in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to shortlist candidates for the post of interim PM. He also says a caretaker set-up will be set up before May 31. There are also rumors that former finance minister, Hafiz Sheikh, is being brought back at the establishment’s instance. The whispers around say Hafiz Sheikh has also held meetings with establishment and in some NAB cases against him, interim bail too has been arranged for him from Sindh High Court. Most ministers in Shahbaz cabinet also are out on bail. Even Punjab Chief Minister, Hamza Sharif, is out on bail. Sindh Acting Governor, Agha Siraj Durrani is out on bail in NAB cases. Sindh CM is also facing NAB cases. All eyes are now on what action Election Commission takes with regards to 25 PTI rebels in Punjab assembly. It seems the constitutional crisis that has set in the country since March this year is expected to remain for a long time. All PDM leaders were focused on ousting Imran Khan from corridors of power and none of them gave thought to post-government formation issues like how to run economy. (Gulam Hyder Khokhar, Pahenji Akhbar, May 19)
  • People are confused over Imran Khan’s narratives and current government’s policies. On the one hand a teeming number of youth are turning out in support of Imran Khan and on the other hand, our rulers, their supporters and most senior persons in the media are opposing Imran Khan’s narratives. Right now, Imran Khan is sowing seeds of anti-government sentiments/ revolution. He is asking youth to come out on roads to save the country. Keeping aside major concerns like economic crisis and energy and water shortages, Imran is harping on his power related pursuits.  Meanwhile, political circles are wondering whether the coalition will stay till election.  There is speculation as to whether the ruling alliance partners will go to polls on a common plank or whether they will go solo. If they go solo, it is going to benefit PTI. It is also learnt that PPP and PML-N may not contest elections jointly or as a part of an alliance. All eyes therefore will be on who will form the government after coming elections, whenever they are held. (Ali Raza Pirzada in Kawish, May 19)
  • Terror attacks have once again triggered panic in Karachi, which has a long history of terrorism, target killing, street crime, land grabbing and narcotic trade.  Illegal migrants are amongst the major reasons behind the rise in these crimes. Law and order and peace have become distant dreams in Karachi today. It is for present rulers and law enforcement agencies to bring back Karachi’s glory because it is their duty to ensure law and order and safety of people in Karachi. (Lajpat Rai in Kawish, May 19)
  • For the last 24 years, I am living in Islamabad and among these politicians. I have seen them very closely and if you listen to me, they all are trying to save their politics, not the country. Protecting the country is not their priority. Please keep in mind that any person who is greedy of power can never be a well-wisher of the country or anybody except himself. He needs power even if he has to walk over heaps of bodies. (Rauf Klasra in Dunya Daily)
  • 45. Looking at the 74-year journey of Pakistan, it seems that we have lost our destination. The four basic elements in the development of any country are economy, law and order, justice, and foreign affairs. If we look at the current situation of the country in the light of these elements, there is deep darkness on all sides. The economy is on the verge of collapse. The rupee has broken all records of its depreciation. The value of Afghanistan’s currency, which has been burning in the fire of war for years, is better than our rupee. Bhutan and Nepal are all ahead of us economically. The root of all these ills is the interest rate economy. Pakistan currently has a debt of over 100 billion dollars. The total GDP of the country is 7500 billion rupees out of which 2900 billion is spent on interest payments, which is 37.7% of the total revenue. How can a country with almost half of its income go to interest payments, grow its economy and make development?  Everywhere in the world, the capitalist economy is taking its last hiccups. The main reason we have not made much progress on this banking is due to the control of our economy by the IMF and the World Bank. How can the lenders of interest choose to close their business? That is why the IMF has now taken control of our State bank. We would like to inform the government now that if they obstructed the decision of the Federal Shariah Court on the usury system, then people will fight against them. (Sirajul Haq, Chairman of Jamaat-e-Islami in Nawa-i-Waqt)

EDITORIALS

  • There is nothing in sight to suggest that we are going to get rid of the present political, economic and constitutional crisis anytime soon. The more we try to set things right, the worse they keep getting. The Opposition, taking advantage of the situation, keeps mounting attacks on the government. And, since the government is facing challenges on several fronts, it is in no position to retaliate; the government also does not seem to be in a position to articulate clear strategies to come out of the present state of uncertainty. Recently, the Supreme Court has given verdict against rebel PTI law makers but left the matter of disqualification or any other punishment to them to Parliament. The verdict has complicated matters further. The ruling can have a big impact on the Punjab government. The parties in the ruling coalition   in Islamabad are also reluctant to take major decisions till the scenario gets clearer. They do not want to take any political risks. But any delay in taking bold and major decisions will only make the situation all the more worse. (Edits – Pahenji Akhbar, Kawish, May 19)  
  • Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has assured the IMF officials that the Shehbaz government would meet the conditions of the earlier agreements with the IMF but the Bretton Woods twin is insisting tha the government must first comply with its conditions before talks to release the pending instalments can be held. The IMF demands immediate increase in petrol, gas and electricity tariffs and abolition of subsidies. These steps lead to high inflation and spurt in unemployment. The shadow of uncertainty is growing on the political and economic horizon of Pakistan.  The future of the 13-party ruling coalition government is also uncertain. (Edits in Jasarat, Jang)
  • The way political activists are confronting one another these days, has left the world wondering at the state of affairs in Pakistan. It looks like the scenario will get worse in the days to come. It seems PTI either wants to see their government in Pakistan or they are keen to get democracy derailed in the country. The talks about the Long March to Islamabad and holding of dharna are a clear message that they want the government to raise some obstacles which in turn will give the PTI some opportunity to create disturbances. Also, the way both Government and PTI are speaking against each other also seems to be jeopardizing democratic values and traditions. All these developments are not good omens for the country or for democracy in the country. It is a big tragedy that politics is saying goodbye to morals and ethics; on other hand, only hatred, be it sectarian, ethnic or provincial, seems to be ruling the roost. Any political support to the hate mongers will only make matters worse. Do our political parties want their cadre to fight one another on the roads in pursuit of power? Let us keep personal and political interests aside and think of larger good of the country.  Otherwise, we would have to suffer irreparable losses. The onus therefore lies on politicians whether they want to see democratic set-up afloat or want to derail democracy in country. (Edit in Ibrat)
  • Now that the finance minister has said yes to IMF terms and conditions, the government will have to impose more taxes in line with the IMF desires.  Put simply, there will be more burden on the people, once again – costly petrol, costly power, and roll back of subsidies. The common man must get some relief. Let us withdraw concessions being extended to the elite. Let us lay emphasis on more exports and less imports to strengthen our economy. A major slice of whatever revenue we generate is spent on repayment of loans. Instead of always looking up to IMF, let us try to be self-reliant. (Sindh Express Edit)
  • Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’ order to ban the import of luxury items to save precious foreign exchange is long overdue.  There is a small privileged section that uses expensive imported goods as a matter of their prerogative. (Edits in Aeen, Daily K2, Asas, Aaj, Daily Pakistan, Jehan Pakistan, Nai Baat)
  • 14 lawmakers have submitted a no confidence motion against Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bezenjo. But backing by at least 33 members is needed for the motion to sail through. Those who had submitted the no-confidence motion told the media that they were not satisfied with the performance of the Bezenjo government. Baluchistan is beset with many problems. Clean drinking water is not available. People are suffering from water-borne diseases. Hundreds of them have died of diarrhoea. Monsoon brings in its wake rain havoc year-after -year. For the past 75 years, the rulers never cared for the people. They were busy only in filling their pockets. (Edit in Intekhab Daily)

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