Pak Urdu Media Digest, May 26

NEWS

  • Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen has extended its support to Imran Khan’s Azadi March saying that freedom from American intervention in the country and free external policy were the demands of their leader, martyr Arif Hussein Al Husseini. (Siasat)
  • In a video message, Sheikh Rashid said the next 3 to 5 days are crucial. “Ours is a nuclear state and it is being ruined by inefficient people and all this is being done as part of conspiracy,” he said asking the army and judiciary to play their roles.  (Ibrat)   
  • The price of an 80 kg flour sack has increased by 400 rupees. As a result, Flour mill owners have increased the price of flour by three rupees from 90 rupees to 93 rupees per kilo. (Daily Jinnah, Daily Express)
  • Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto and GCC Secretary-General Dr. Naif Falah have agreed to explore new opportunities for institutional stability and enhancing bilateral economic and trade relations.  Bilawal pledged to conclude talks on a free trade agreement between Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council as soon as possible. (Nawaiwaqt, Ummat)
  • Poor police strategy has led to clashes with PTI workers in Karachi. Police resorted to indiscriminately firing on protesters when they didn’t stop their march. PTI leaders announced a sit-in at the Nomaesh Square. (Ummat)
  • Central Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi has appealed for dialogue between the government and PTI leadership saying that the situation demands an immediate negotiated solution. All issues, including the Long March, should be resolved through dialogue and reconciliation instead of violence. (Daily Express, Nawaiwaqt)
  • A bomb blast near the Afghan capital Kabul, killed at least 11 people and injured more than a dozen. Three blasts rocked the northern province of Balkh, killing nine people and injuring 15 others. However, no one has yet claimed responsibility for the blasts. (Nawaiwaqt)
  • Law enforcement agencies and CTD have arrested an alleged terrorist, a member of the banned organization, during a search operation near Faridiya Park. Illegal weapons, prohibited material, USBs, and pamphlets were recovered from him. The arrested person is identified as Nagzeb from the Bajaur Agency. (Nawaiwaqt, Daily Jinnah)
  • PPP senior and Federal Minister Khursheed Shah has said that if the army wants to take control of the government, then it is welcome. We will leave the government without any resistance. In an interview with the Voice of America, he said we have taken a great risk by accepting to run the government. If anybody thinks that he can lift the weight and take the risk, we welcome him. If the army thinks that it can handle the situation then it should come forward. (Ausaf Daily)
  • IMF has flatly refused to release the next instalment of the loan to Pakistan unless the government agrees to increase POL prices, said sources. The subsidies on petroleum products and electricity have to be cut down. It is not curtain down not as yet.  Talks will continue next week. (Intekhab Daily)
  • Indus Rivers System Authority (IRSA) has said that the shortage of water for irrigation has reached 45 percent. The provinces are advised to use water very carefully in a planned way. (Intekhab Daily)
  • The no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister of Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bezenjo will fail, says Provincial consultant for Home, Mir Zia Ullah Langue. He said that all coalition parties are with the CM. there is no chance of the no-confidence motion being successful. He said that it is a time for working together for the development and prosperity of the province instead of increasing problems. (Intekhab Daily)

COLUMNS

  • Now Imran Khan has announced ‘Long March’ to Islamabad, and asked the Army to remain neutral. Earlier, he was angry at the neutrality of the army. What does it mean? Has Imran Khan taken a U-turn about the neutrality of the Army? Analysts say that this is not the case but Imran Khan has warned the army that if the army wants to remain neutral then it should remain neutral and not support the government. This means that if the government calls in the army for law-and-order duty, it will refuse to obey its orders and maintain its “neutral” status. The question is if that is possible? The impression that the Army can be neutral is wrong. The Army was not neutral before, nor is it neutral now, nor can it be neutral in the future. It will have to play its part in national security anyway. The military refers to the military leadership that decides what role it should play in national security. The decision of the Army leadership may be right or wrong and every decision has a profound effect on national security. In the no-confidence motion, the military leadership had decided to give a free hand to the political opponents of the Imran government. This mistake can only be rectified by holding early general elections in the country so that an elected and sustainable government can be established and the people can breathe a sigh of relief. (Matin Fikri, Jasarat)
  • People pity Imran Khan’s mental condition. These days he does not seem to be having any support from the establishment to destabilize the Shahbaz-led government. At times he tells the establishment not to remain neutral but these days he is asking establishment to remain neutral. He now thinks Pakistan is his ancestral fiefdom and any other democratically elected government has no right to rule Pakistan. The turn of events has shown that Imran has the worst fascist mindset and that he is not a good political player. (Sindh Exp, Dastgir Bhati)
  • Imran Khan is still not realizing that people are fed up with the erratic policies he had pursued as premier. He should have taken lessons from the no-trust motion against his government but he is back on containers with protests. Whatever tall claims he makes this time to take country out of crisis the watchful media will not spare him. (Sindh Exp, Rashid Lagari) 
  • It is sad that we compelled non-Muslim population to flee from their ancestral places in Pakistan/Sindh during partition times. Mandirs, churches, gurdwaras and their other structures at Sargodha, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Sindh and other places are reminders of their happy times here. There is no mention of non-Muslims in our educational syllabus. Our new generation has no knowledge of the great personalities amongst non-Muslims, who have hardly any representation in our government service. In India and other countries, some members from minorities are made ministers to protect the rights of minorities. But, in Pakistan, such ministries too are bagged by maulanas. Likewise, minor girls, amongst non-Muslims, are forcibly converted and married off against their will. Australia has started observing May 26 as National Sorry Day, to regret all its past atrocities. When will we feel sorry for our acts? (Ibrat, Dr. Ramesh Kumar) 
  • PTI leaders were boasting that they would bring lakhs to their long march, but hardly there were about 25 thousand on the road. PTI might blame low turnout for the barricades put up by authorities. But these barricades were only in Punjab and not in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. PTI leaders could have brought participants from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. But, fact of the matter is that the majority in PTI are power-seekers. It is time Imran Khan and his party understood what people actually want. Imran Khan might be a popular leader but yet for people it is the nation that is above all. If Imran Khan is out with dreams that pose big threats to the sovereignty of the nation, then any right-thinking person cannot go along with him. Need of the hour is Imran Khan returns to parliament and fight his political foes democratically on the floor of the house. The mission he has started will ultimately do him, his party and the nation more harm than any good. (Ibrat, Sarmad Mansoor)  
  • Right now, the government and Imran Khan seem to be in no mood to reconcile. Before the Long March, Imran Khan went around the country and held public meetings wherever he wanted to. And, his meetings were thickly attended. Hence, the question arises why did he decide to take out a Long March which could invite the wrath of the government? Did he get any hint from any quarters- establishment, that this was the right moment for him for Long March to get desired results? Even with such hint, Imran Khan is surely running risk if his Long March fails. In the current situation, the establishment largely looks neutral, this is something Imran Khan himself wanted as evident from his statements at the time of announcing the Long March. Imran Khan himself said he wanted the establishment to be neutral. Now, Imran Khan wants to compel the establishment to interfere. Question is: If the establishment interferes, will consequences be not more dangerous this time? In 2018, ML (N) might have kept quiet on the establishment’s support from behind the curtain, but this time government and its allies might not keep quiet if the establishment interferes. It is not possible that Imran Khan can defeat the government only with a Long March. He does not have good organizational skill and nor does he have the temperament for striking for alliances. Earlier leaders, be it Benazir or even Nawaz Sharif had realized the importance of alliances; in fact, they all survived in politics because of allies’ support from time to time. Things will get much clearer with regards to the fate of Long March by tonight. If Imran Khan stays firm on the basis of only his overconfidence and if there is no support from behind the curtain, then there are more chances that Imran Khan’s Long March will turn out to his historic blunder. (Pahenji, Mumtaz Mungi, May 25)   
  • By now Imran Khan seems to have realized that one can dominate social media with help of photoshop images, videos and other tricks made possible with help of artificial intelligence, but blessings from “darvesh” (establishment) are must to stay afloat in national politics or to win polls. It is very clear by now that Imran Khan cannot reach his destination without Faiz (former ISI chief, euphemism for the establishment). PTI is back to the times of 2014 dharnas. This time, Imran’s “political cousin”, Tahir Qadri, is not ready to come to his help.   In case of any attempt to bring life in Islamabad to standstill, there can be crackdowns on Imran Khan and his supporters.  This time Imran Khan seems to be trapped. His Azadi March or Long March seems to have fizzled out even before its take- off. He might be able to hold protests or take out processions, but he no longer has the stamina or capability for dharna and financiers like Jehgangir Tareen are no longer with him. His Azadi March does not seem to be taking him to the corridors of power, again. (Kawish, Muslim Mirani, May 25)   
  • Imran Khan has many faces. He talks with the media with a democratic face. He says that his protest is democratic. He says we are demanding immediate elections, which is our democratic right, and the journalists agree with him. When addressing the public, he says that whatever he is doing is a Jihad against corruption and corrupt persons so the public should support him and the people agree with him. His third face is a face of a revolutionary. When he comes with this face, he says that the nation needs a revolution. We are fighting a war for freedom from America which is controlling all of our institutions. Its agents have taken control of the country. I am fighting with them. In my opinion, PTI is not a political party, it is a cult and Imran Khan is the center of it. A political party has ranks and files, and a second line of leaders. While a cult is centered on one person, whatever he says is right, whatever he does is right. Imran Khan is the center of PTI. So PTI is a cult, not a political party. (Dunya Daily-Khursheed Nadeem)

EDITORIALS

  • Saudi Finance Minister Muhammad Al-Jadaan has hinted at good news to soon regarding the extension of the USD 3 billion deposit given to Pakistan. This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has offered Pakistan the facility of late repayment of loans. (Edit Jang)
  • Imran Khan is taking out a long march to Islamabad and the Federal Government is determined to not allow anyone challenge its writ. Things would get worse if both sides fail to take sensible decisions. This is not the time to create anarchy in the country. (Edits in Jehan Pakistan, Qudrat, Baad-e-Shimal, Daily K2, Daily Pakistan, Pahenji & Kawish)
  • PTI has failed to attract crowds for its Islamabad Long March. The turnout is not to its expectations. One reason for this could be the barricades the Police have put at almost every entry point; but if lakhs of people had gathered as PTI kept claiming, then barricades would have disappeared on their own. One thing that the PTI leadership fails to understand is that ultimately, they would have to sit down for talks. We have been editorially telling both sides, government and the Opposition, to sit for talks along with the Election Commission because ultimately it is the Poll Body that has to make arrangements for the ballot.  We once again urge all concerned to let country be not subjected to uncertainties and to let issues be settled on the floor of parliament for larger good of all. (Ibrat, Edit)   
  • New government came to office through democratic and constitutional means. Hence, it be allowed to stay in office till its term ends. This will enable the government to undertake electoral and financial reforms.  PTI has done colossal harm to the nation on the economy front. It would take a long time to put the economy back on sound pedestal. Hence, let the country be not destabilized and instead of taking any new adventures, let issues be sorted out through talks. Imran Khan too should keep away from dharnas because such protests harm national interests. (Sindh Exp. Edit)    
  • The government is making all efforts to thwart the Long March of Imran Khan while the PTI is determined to make it a grand success.   At the time of writing these lines, Punjab has turned into a battleground. Both parties are claiming that they want to work for the betterment of the country and both are taking steps which will further destroy the economy and security of the country. Politicians should listen to the voice of rationality if they want to save the country. (Edit in Islam Daily)

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