Today’s evening brief of Pakistan Reader focusses on the opposition to the constitution a National Minorities Commission, Punjab leaving the PPE at the Beijing airport for more than 45 days, the problem of the Locusts, killings in North Waziristan and the meeting to relax the lockdown in Pakistan.
Punjab’s bickering with the PIA leaves 100 million rupees worth PPE, donated by China lying in Beijing airport
700 boxes of Personal Protective Equipment donated by China, worth 100 million rupees is lying in the Beijing airport. The PPE was handed over to the Pakistan embassy in Beijing, which has transported to the Airport 45 days ago. However, the boxes could not be brought to Pakistan, as Punjab government and the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) are fighting over the freight charges. Items that were donated by China include “protective suits, surgical masks, N-95 respirators, medical gloves, disposable medical protective clothing, among others, for frontline workers including doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff.” (The Express Tribune)
Independent groups working on minority and human rights reject the National Council for Minorities formed by the government.
On 5 May, the federal cabinet announced the formation of a National Council for Minorities, with representation from Hindu, Christian, Parsi and Kalash communities, but minus the Ahmadiya. Peter Jacob, the Chairman of the Peoples Commission for Minority Rights Chairman Peter Jacob, has made a statement toward challenging the Council, as it was formed by a decision based on the federal cabinet and not an act of Parliament. For him, this would be a contempt of the court and also a violation of the 2014 order by the Supreme Court. Hina Gilani, one of the founders of the HRCP and a former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders has been reported to have supported the action.
Dawn says, “what often passes for ‘investigation’ is planted evidence, confessions under torture, etc”
In its editorial, responding to a recent verdict by Chief Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court on reforming the criminal justice system in Pakistan, Dawn has commented on the limitation of the Courts on the issue. According to the editorial, the judges rely on the evidence presented before them, hence there is a need for a larger reform on the police investigation. It has called for “simultaneous reforms in the functioning of the police can there be any improvement in the dispensation of justice.”
Targetted killings continue in North Waziristan
Five were killed in two separate firing incidents in North Waziristan. The killers remain unidentified. On 2 May, Arif Wazir, a leading figure in the PTM was gunned down in front of his house by unidentified gunmen in Waziristan. According to a news report in Dawn, “The rise in targeted killing of civilians and attacks on security forces in North Waziristan and South Waziristan districts have created fear among the local population.”
Pakistan to resume limited flight operations
The minister of Aviation in Pakistan has hinted that Pakistan would resume limited domestic flight, due to the public demand. The flights would operate from four airports — Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Quetta. (Dawn)
Pakistan wants international cooperation in fighting the Locusts
While the Locusts have been a problem for Pakistan, its impact has increased manifold recently. It was reported earlier that 38 per cent of the Pakistani territory was breeding ground for the locust, with Balochistan facing the brunt (60 per cent), following by Sindh (25 per cent) and Punjab (15 per cent). According to a news report, the problem has aggravated now, because of an “unprecedented third generation breeding” instead of the regular two breeding seasons. (Dawn)
The National Coordination Committee to decide today about continuing with the lockdown
Chaired by the Prime Minister, the National Coordination Committee (NCC) will decide on the continuation of the lockdown. With the Prime Minister is not in favour of the lockdown, it is expected that the country would lift partially, as the business community has been complaining about the losses. The PM has earlier criticised the “elite” for favouring the lockdown.
Pakistan Reader is an academic exercise at the Conflict Resolution and Peace Research Programme at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in the Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore, India. The objective of this alert – “Pakistan Reader – Evening Brief” is to update the readers on contemporary developments within Pakistan, on a regular basis.
We are hoping to build this initiative into a credible independent global portal with independent research and analysis on contemporary Pakistan in a real-time basis. In the process, we are also looking forward to building capacity amongst young scholars who would want to work on Pakistan.
The PR Evening Brief team includes D. Suba Chandran, Lakshmi V Menon, Abigail Miriam Fernandez, A Padmashree and P Harini Sha.
Prof D Suba Chandran can be reached at [email protected]