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View from the neighbourhood: From the World Cup to the Caretaker PM — what Pakistan media is talking about

Security concerns for Cricket World Cup in India

The Pakistan government gave its cricket team the greenlight to participate in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup to be held in India from October 5 to November 19. The media believes that its government has taken “the high moral ground” (News International, August 8) in granting permission since the Indian authorities had refused to send in their team to play in Pakistan for the Asia Cup. There has also been a special emphasis on safety for the Pakistan team in every editorial.

Daily Times (August 9) says, “For every gross violation of international order or decorum committed by India, Pakistan has always tried to act like a bigger, more responsible state… It is incredibly easy to snubb our policies as too accommodating but when the odds are stacked against us, a small state, especially when pitted against a super-rich adversary, needs to play its cards with utmost caution.” News International (August 8) stresses security concerns saying, “There are fears that the crowd could be hostile towards Pakistan especially due to the fact that Ahmedabad is the home city of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose ruling BJP party has never hidden its deep bias against Pakistan. One hopes that the Indians will provide foolproof security to Pakistan’s cricketers.” Express Tribune (August 8) believes, “Islamabad has taken a leap forward, and now the onus is on Delhi to ensure serenity by exhibiting exemplary hospitality.”

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Non-controversial caretaker PM

Balochistan Awami Party’s Anwaarul Haq Kakar has been appointed the caretaker Prime Minister until elections decide the next PM of Pakistan. Both outgoing PM Shehbaz Sharif and the Leader of Opposition Raja Riaz agreed on Kakar — after they pushed forward their own candidates and reached a deadlock. This decision seems to be well-received by all political stakeholders.

Dawn (August 13) says, “…he may be asked to play a supporting role in a conspiracy to extend the caretaker set-up till such time as the country’s unelected decision-makers decide that the public may finally have a say in their future. He must do all he can within his power to preclude this possibility. The biggest challenge will be to ensure that delimitations under the recently notified census are completed as quickly as possible.” Daily Times (August 13) also speaks to the significance of timely elections saying, “it [the caretaker government] would have to take the electioneering bull by the horns and lay the ground for an impartial, credible poll exercise that upholds the rule of law.” The Nation (August 13) adds, “This is not all; interim PM Kakar will have to approve and reshape a few economic policies in order to ensure that our fiscal imbalance does not worsen. Simultaneously, a growth-oriented approach is required to ensure that our industries also develop outside of just being corrective.”

Alarming study on marriage rights for women

On August 8, a study by the Centre for Human Rights (CFHR) in collaboration with Musawi and the National Commission for Human Rights titled, ‘Diagnostic Study of Nikahnamas in Punjab: A Review of Women’s Marriage Rights’ revealed that “86 per cent of Lahore’s marriage registrars believe ‘brides not competent enough to negotiate terms of the nikahnama’, 85 per cent foresee a spike in divorce rates if the right to divorce is granted to women and 92 per cent agree that the right to maintenance is determined by ‘obedience to husband’”. Only about 8 per cent “included the right to monthly allowance” and 2 per cent gave wives the right to divorce.

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The Nation (August 10) says that while the objective was to find gaps in the “legislative and institutional framework of marital contracts”, the study has instead found that even as “the law has sufficient provisions to grant all key rights to brides… women themselves are either too disadvantaged to ask, are completely unaware about the concept of marital rights, or have aligned their beliefs to disempowering conservative values.” Express Tribune (August 13) believes “Policymakers, the judicial system and activists need to do more than just pay lip service to safeguard women’s agency and rights… the deep-rooted misogynist and patriarchal mindsets need to be dismantled by strictly implementing laws to allow women some respite”.

Pak-Iran pipeline crisis

Pakistan decided to put on hold its multi-billion dollar pipeline project with Iran due to the sanctions imposed on Tehran by the US for its nuclear programme. Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik said Pakistan had issued notice of “force majeure and excusing event” to Iran fearing a “trickle-down effect” (The Nation, August 8). The media believes that the deal could have been salvaged and that efforts should be made to do the same even now.

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Dawn (August 10) says, “Instead of throwing in the towel, all legal and diplomatic options should be explored to save the deal and bring much-needed gas to Pakistan, while the state must convince the US to exempt this scheme from sanctions.” The Nation (August 8) says, “Pakistan might have to pay $14 billion as a penalty for this sudden move, all the while suffering the consequences of alienating a friendly ally. It is imperative that the government addresses this, and explains the exact causes for taking such a sudden step.”

adya.goyal@expressindia.com

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