January 21st, 2021 

Bureau Report 


LAHORE

In a current affair show on Aaj Tv, anchored by Munizae Jahangir, Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security revealed that the Prime Minister understands the necessity of highspeed internet in the modern-age but his government is trying to balance the “risks” involved. “In the past our state’s calculus was skewed in the favor of security but now we are trying to balance the modern need for connectivity with our security needs, and this is evident from the PM’s recent announcement,” says Dr. Yousaf, while pointing to the PM’s recent announcement to restore 3G/4G services in Wana. The Prime Minister made the declaration in his visit to Wana, yesterday on Wednesday 21.

 

Though the restoration is a commendable move, Jahangir questioned the absence of this UN-mandated essential service in the rest of newly merged districts and other peripheral areas of the country like Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. While Moeed Yousaf agreed on principle with the necessity of providing highspeed internet services to the youth, he pointed towards the “risks” involved in providing unfettered internet connection in “traditionally misgoverned” areas because the enemies of the country, that is India and Afghanistan utilize these “systems” to misguide the country’s youth.

The conversation subtly shifted from internet connectivity in the tribal areas to the worsening security situation in the region. Jahangir recounted several incidents of violence that have occurred in North Waziristan in recent weeks including target killing of engineers, doctors and the abduction of the ruling party’s local leader Malik Asif Khan , and then a house demolition of PTM activists Islam Badshah in which a 13 year older child Khatim Gul was also killed.

The anchorperson also pointed towards a protest rally led by a member of the National Assembly and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) Mohsin Dawar against the continuously increasing incidents of violence in Waziristan and the broader tribal areas on the same day the Prime Minister was visiting Wana, to question the government’s failure in providing security to its citizens.

 

 Dr. Yousaf conceded that there has been a sudden uptick in violent incidents in the tribal belt but blamed neighboring countries for funding terrorist activities in Pakistan. “I agree that violent incidents have increased in the country but I can assure you that according to our information, rival intelligence agencies are behind this violence. But rest assured, all concerned institutions of our country are busy dealing with this issue,”. He also reiterated that the law and order situation has improved in the last few years.

Jahangir also questioned the Advisor to the Prime Minister about the recent pending cases in courts of “missing persons” and the judge’s observations against the practice of enforced disappearance in the country. Though Moeed Yousaf shied away from directly addressing the issue , he did admit to its existence. “I don’t have the details of every individual case, but I can tell you that from amongst the people who are missing there are some whom we do not know about, and all the concerned stakeholders are working towards recovering them.” 

In the end the journalist explicitly asked about the prime minister’s views on the issue of enforced disappearance while mentioning the fact that the PM took a special interest in the Matiullah Jan abduction case. Dr. Yousaf responded by stating that the Prime Minister is an “empathetic” individual and that he is “doing everything he can to find the whereabouts of these missing persons.”

 

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