PILDAT Monitor on Inter-Institutional Relations in Pakistan | September 2020


This monitor is meant to identify key developments during the month on Inter-Institutional Relations in Pakistan with selected high-profile international developments included occasionally. For the purpose of this monitor, the institutions are meant to be the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive.

In this Issue:

  1. Paradigm Shift in the PML-N Stance
  2. Nawaz Sharif bars party leaders from meeting army, agencies
  3. Opposition Parties trying to create a wedge between Government and Army: Prime Minister
  4. Speaker National Assembly meets PM
  5. National Assembly Defence committee visits Miranshah
  6. Financial Action Task Force Legislations
  7. COAS Meets Business Leaders in Karachi
  8. CJP addresses NDU delegation
  9. Local Government System in Sindh has broken down: CJP
  10. Military Court Convictions
  11. IHC concerned about missing persons cases in Islamabad
  12. Contempt of Court notices issued in Musharraf High Treason case
  13. APS Commission Report becomes Public
  14. Army Land Allotment case
  15. Dr. Moeed Yusuf to head Economic Outreach Apex Committee
  16. Railways Minister discloses Chief of Army Staff meeting with Opposition Leaders
  17. Corps Commanders’ Conference
  18. COAS Interactions with Foreign Dignitaries
  19. Prime Minister’s Interactions with Chief of Army Staff
  20. Belarus Protests
  21. Mali Opposition Rejects pro-junta transition
  22. Thailand pro-democracy protests continue

Paradigm Shift in the PML-N Stance

Mr. Nawaz Sharif addressing the PDM APC via Video Link

In a first for the PML-N, Mr. Nawaz Sharif named the current Chairman CPEC Authority and former Commander Southern Command, Lt. General (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa, accusing him of being behind a conspiracy to remove the PMLN-led Provincial Government of Balochistan prior to the Senate election in 2018.[1] Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa also holds the portfolio of Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting.

Mr. Nawaz Sharif was addressing the All Parties Conference organised by the joint opposition parties which have come together under an alliance named as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).[2]

Mr. Nawaz Sharif alleged that prior to the 2018 Senate election, a plot had been hatched that he wanted to bring to the attention of the gathering. The PML-N-led Balochistan Provincial Government was changed according to the plot. Mr. Nawaz Sharif alleged that Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa was part of the plot. He added that the public had already found out about the business empire run by Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa.

“2018 ki senate ke intekhabaat se kuch arsa pehle, khawateen o hazrat, aik mazmoom saazish ki gayi, mein aap ki tawajoh mabzool kara raha hun. Uss mazmoom sazish ke zariye, Balochistan ki subayi hakumat gira di gayi. Uska maqsad kya tha maloom hai aapko? Uska asal maqsad Senate ke intekhabaat mein saamne aaya. Uss saazish ke kirdaaron mein Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa, jo wahan ke corps commander thay, Southern Command ke Commander thay, unka naam bhi aata hai. Yeh wohi General Asim Saleem Bajwa hain jin ke khandaan ki be-panah daulat aur dunya bhar mein phele hue asaason ki tafseelaat poori qaum ke saamne aa chuki hai.”

Former Prime Minister also said that no one had the courage to question the retired General or his family on how he had managed to accumulate assets during his service.[4] Mr. Nawaz Sharif said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had given a clean chit to the former General and no details were asked of him, no Joint Investigation Team was formed and no investigation took place.

It is pertinent to note here that Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa tendered his resignation from his position as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting on September 4. Prime Minister Imran Khan, however, did not accept the resignation stating that he was satisfied with the evidence and explanation provided by Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa.[5]

This move signals a paradigm shift for Mr. Nawaz Sharif, who, since his ouster from power in July 2017, has chosen not to directly name the military or a particular personality in the military, choosing instead to question why was he ousted and that ‘khalai makhlooq’ was responsible behind his ouster and PML-N’s defeat in 2018 General Election. It is, therefore, the first time that he named a serving General at the time for allegedly sabotaging Senate election. The former Prime Minister also adopted a belligerent tone directly blaming military establishment for the loss suffered by the PML-N in the 2018 election. In another veiled reference, the former Prime Minister went on to say that their fight was not against Prime Minister Imran Khan, but was against the people who had selected him as the Prime Minister. “Humara muqabla Imran Khan se nai hai, aaj humari jad-o-jahad Imran Khan ko laane walon ke khilaf hai.”

Mr. Nawaz Sharif said that a ‘state above the state’ existed in the country and the existence of this parallel government was unacceptable and against democratic norms. He ended his speech by stating that institutions such as the media, judiciary and the bureaucracy had all been compromised and there was need for a change in the system and not just a change in the party in power.

A day after the APC, senior ministers of the PTI-led Federal Government including Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, Mr. Asad Umar and Senator Shibli Faraz, in a press conference, termed Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s speech as “anti-Pakistan”[6] and said that he had furthered India’s agenda.[7]

Nawaz Sharif bars party leaders from meeting army, agencies

DG ISI and Chief of Army Staff

On September 29, the PML-N issued a directive barring all party members from meeting representatives of Pakistan Army and Intelligence Agencies without permission from Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Quaid PML-N.

The move came about as a result of a disclosure made by the Railways Minister Mr. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, that Mr. Muhammad Zubair, former Governor Sindh and a senior leader of the PML-N, had held secret meetings with the Chief of Army Staff. [8]

On September 23, Director General Inter Services Public Relations, Major General Babar Iftikhar, also disclosed that Mr. Muhammad Zubair had met the Chief of Army Staff twice on the request of Mr. Zubair and that DG ISI was also present in these meetings. The DG ISPR went on to say that the issues facing Mr. Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Ms. Maryam Nawaz Sharif were discussed in both meetings.[9] He shared this during an interview given to journalist Mr. Arshad Sharif on ARY News.

“Zyada detail mein tou nai jaon ga magar Chief of Army Staff ki mulaqat ke hawaale se mein yeh zarur waazeh kar doon ke Muhammad Zubair Sahab ne dou martaba Chief of Army Staff se mulaqat ki. Aik dafa August ke aakhri haftay mein aur dusri martaba 7 September ko unki Chief of Army Staff se mulaqat hui jis mein DG ISI bhi maujood thay. Aur dono mulaqaatein unki darkhwast pe hi huin, aur dono mulaqaton mein unhon ne Mian Nawaz Sharif Sahab aur Maryam Nawaz Sahiba ke hawaale se hi baat cheet ki. Inn mulaqaaton mein jo bhi baat cheet hui hai Army Chief ne un pe waazeh kar diya ke jo bhi inn ke legal masail hain woh Pakistan ki adaalton mein hal hon ge aur jo siaasi masail hain unka hal parliament mein hoga. Inn maamlaat se fauj ko dur rakha jaye”[10]

In response, Mr. Muhammad Zubair claimed that the meetings were indeed held but only because he had close personal ties with the Chief of Army Staff. “Qamar Javed Bajwa is an old friend and not only have I met him many times as a friend but our families have also been meeting cordially over dinners etc. In my most recent meeting with him, economy, politics and, of course, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, all came under discussion. No relief was ever requested.”[11]

Opposition Parties trying to create a wedge between Government and Army: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan

On September 25, Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan said that the opposition parties were trying to drive a wedge between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Government and the Pakistan Army.

Reportedly, he was talking to a group of directors of leading television channels. He also termed the relationship between the current government and the Pakistan Army as historic.[12]

Prime Minister also reportedly said that he was informed of all the backdoor meetings held between the Army and opposition leaders. He said that the Pakistan Army followed the manifesto of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) because its leadership was not corrupt. However, he rejected the impression that the PTI Government came into power with the army’s help. However, he added, “Whereas the army had laid foundations of both PML-N and PPP.” [13]

Earlier on September 4, reporting on an interview of Prime Minister with Al-Jazeera, Dawn said that Prime Minister was “visibly upset” when the interviewer asked him why “senior military officers” were being given responsibilities of major government departments when he should have been putting more “civilian faces” for the country’s international image. [14] Rejecting the allegation, the Prime Minister responded that the PTI Government was democratically elected through fair elections and had a harmonious relationship with the Army.[15]

Speaker National Assembly meets PM

Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly with the Prime Minister

On September 25, Honourable Speaker, National Assembly, Mr. Asad Qaiser met Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan. The meeting was held after the opposition parties staged a walk out from the National Assembly during a sitting held on September 16.

Reportedly, the Prime Minister asked the Honourable Speaker that opposition parties should be engaged in the passage of bills in the future. Issues of legislation, measures of public interest and welfare were discussed in the meeting.[16]

National Assembly Defence committee visits Miranshah

Members of Standing Committee on Defence visit Miranshah

On September 29 twenty members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence visited Miranshah district in North Waziristan.[17] The committee was given a briefing on progress of fencing at the Pak Afghan border and on-going intelligence based operations in the region.[18] The delegation was also briefed on on-going projects to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the area. The Committee is headed by PTI MNA Mr. Amjid Ali Khan.

Financial Action Task Force Legislations

National Assembly of Pakistan

On September 16, a joint sitting of the Parliament passed three bills related to the Financial Action Task Force.[19] The three bills passed by the Parliament include the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill and the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The session of the National Assembly remained chaotic as the opposition members strongly rejected the result of counting of votes and almost came to blows with the treasury benches. The opposition also staged a walkout after which eight bills were passed in quick succession including the three bills related to the Financial Action Task Force.[20]

Addressing the Parliament after the passage of the bills, Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan thanked the lawmakers who voted in favour of the legislations. The Prime Minister went on to say that the opposition interests were the “opposite of Pakistan’s interests” and the opposition did not want the FATF laws to pass.[21] He criticized the opposition for attempting to use the FATF to protect their interests.

At a press conference held after the joint session, President PML-N Mr. Shahbaz Sharif and Chairman PPP Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari criticized the government terming the day a “black day in the history of democracy.” The JUI-F leader Mr. Saadur Rehman said that the bills that were passed had “no constitutional or legal value.

COAS Meets Business Leaders in Karachi

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa

During a visit to Karachi on September 2, Chief of Army Staff met Karachi-based business leaders at the Corps Commander house Karachi.[22]

Reportedly, business leaders raised various issues facing Karachi with the COAS including the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess, high cost of land in Karachi and problems in exports and production. The COAS assured the business leaders of the Pakistan Army’s support and said that the Army would extend all help to the government to solve the issues facing Karachi. [23]

CJP addresses NDU delegation

Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed

On September 3, the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed addressed a delegation of the National Security and War-2021 Course of the National Defence University. The delegation comprised faculty members of the National Defence University, officers of Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force and Civil Service, including military officers from the friendly countries.[24]

Honourable Chief Justice briefed the participants about the judicial system in Pakistan, as well as about the Supreme Court, the High Courts of the provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory and other courts created by law.[25]

Local Government System in Sindh has broken down: CJP

Supreme Court of Pakistan

On September 23, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, remarked that the local government system in Karachi seemed to have broken down. The Chief Justice passed these remarks while hearing a petition on empowering local governments.

‘Where did the 20,000 employees of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation disappear in the recent debacle when the citizens of Karachi braved rain and sewage gushing into their houses and had to remain stranded on the roads for days,’ Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked. [26]

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan commented that when in power, no party wants to devolve powers to the local governments. However, when any party became part of the opposition, it starts calling for devolution of powers and funds.[27] The Supreme Court commented that devolution in Karachi seemed to have created more problems for the people with the Chief Justice commenting that whatever system was given to Karachi or the province, would be mismanaged.

Military Court Convictions

Peshawar High Court building

On September 8, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) adjourned the hearing of 3110 petitions against the conviction of suspected militants by military courts. The court asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Attorney General Mr. Shumail Ahmad Butt and the Additional Attorney General of the Federal Government Qazi Babar Irshad to produce relevant records to be able to proceed with the case.[28]

The High Court in an earlier judgement had stated that relevant provisions of the Pakistan Army Act and Rules were violated in the convictions of these prisoners, as they were not given the opportunity to appoint their own counsel.

IHC concerned about missing persons cases in Islamabad

Islamabad High Court building

On September 5, Chief Justice Islamabad High Court, Justice Athar Minallah expressed serious concern about the rise in missing person cases in Islamabad. He made these comments while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the mother of missing Securities and Exchange Committee of Pakistan (SECP) official, Mr. Sajid Gondal.[29] Mr. Sajid Gondal, a joint director at the SECP went missing from Islamabad on September 3 and later released by unknown persons on September 8. Chief Justice Athar Minallah summoned Advisor to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Mr. Mirza Shahzad Akbar along with senior police and capital administration officers on September 21 to address the rising number of missing person cases.[30]

In a similar petition about another missing person Mr. Abdul Qadoos, Islamabad High Court Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani said that under the law only the police, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the counterterrorism department (CTD) were empowered to arrest people. He added that the Federal Government would be responsible if any other agency made an arrest.[31] Justice Kayani also remarked that the Federal Government had failed to protect its citizens as 50 cases of missing persons remained pending in Islamabad.[32] The Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar informed the court that Mr. Abdul Qadoos had been released. The Additional Attorney General also told the court that the Prime Minister had been apprised of the situation of missing persons and had set up a committee headed by Law Minister Dr. Farogh Naseem to examine the issue of missing persons in Islamabad.

Contempt of Court notices issued in Musharraf High Treason case

Ministers issued contempt notices

On September 9, the Peshawar High Court issued notices of contempt of court to Federal Law Minister Dr. Farogh Naseem, former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Mr. Shahzad Akbar and former attorney general Mr. Anwar Mansoor Khan.[33]

The notices were issued in response to comments made by the respondents against the special court verdict against former dictator General Pervez Musharraf. The petitioners stated that Article 204 of the Constitution gave the Court powers to punish anyone who scandalized the court. By making comments against the special court president, Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, the respondents had tried to scandalize the court’s proceedings.[34]

APS Commission Report becomes Public

2014 vigil held for APS victims in Lahore

On September 25, a three judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, ordered the Federal Government to make public the report of a one-member judicial commission on the 2014 Army Public School (APS) Peshawar carnage. The report was completed on June 26.[35]

Taking suo moto notice of the grievances of the families of the victims, the Commission was set up two years ago by then Chief Justice Saqib Nisar. The court had appointed a one-man commission comprising Justice Ibrahim Khan of the Peshawar High Court on October 5, 2018 to hold inquiry into the incident.

The report highlights that the security forces could have prevented some of the loss of lives by responding quicker and engaging the attackers sooner. Due to the mismanagement of the security perimeter, the attackers managed to climb the back walls of the school and take positions inside which allowed them to inflict a lot more damage.

Army Land Allotment case

Chief Minister Punjab Mr. Usman Buzdar

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has launched an investigation into alleged irregularities in the allotment of land meant for families of martyrs. Chief Minister of Punjab Mr. Usman Buzdar approved the allotment of the land, located in South Punjab, to bureaucrats.[36]

The NAB Islamabad has written a letter to the Chief Secretary Punjab to inquire under which laws the land was allotted to bureaucrats.[37]

Dr. Moeed Yusuf to head Economic Outreach Apex Committee

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Dr. Moeed Yusuf

On September 23, the Federal Government announced setting up of an Economic Outreach Apex Committee to promote economic diplomacy. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Dr. Moeed Yusuf has been appointed as head of the committee.[38]

It must be noted that in December 2019, Dr. Moeed Yusuf was appointed as Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Division which serves as the secretariat of the National Security Committee. [39] Since his appointment, only one meeting of the NSC was convened in March 2020 on the emerging public health threat of coronavirus pandemic. [40] Since the formation of the much-needed NSC in 2013, the biggest concern surrounding the body has been an almost willful neglect towards its institutionalization in key national issues by almost all governments except the one headed by Prime Minister Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Railways Minister discloses Chief of Army Staff meeting with Opposition Leaders

Railways Minister Mr. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses a press conference

On September 21, a controversy arose when the Railways Minister, Mr. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, shared the news that the opposition leaders had met the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The meeting was said to have taken place a few days before the All Parties Conference (APC).

The disclosure was made a day after Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the All Parties Conference.[41]

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the meeting with the Army leadership was held only to discuss the status of Gilgit-Baltistan and it was in-camera and off the record. [42] He also regretted that the Prime Minister did not attend the meeting stating that the Prime Minister had failed to work with the opposition. Senior PPP leader Senator Sherry Rehman echoed the party chairman’s sentiment and said that it was a shame that the meeting was not held at the Prime Minister’s office in the presence of the Prime Minister.[43]

The Chief of Army Staff reportedly called the meeting to form consensus on the provision of provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Corps Commanders’ Conference

235th Corps’ Commanders’ Conference

The 235th Corps Commanders’ Conference was held at the General Headquarters on September 9. The conference was briefed about developments along the Line of Control (LOC), operation Radd-ul-Fasad, fencing on the Western border and the army’s Covid-19 relief efforts.[44]

The COAS stressed on the need to enhance combat readiness levels in response to increasing ceasefire violations across the LOC.[45] The COAS lauded the efforts of the armed forces in carrying out relief duties in Karachi as well as praising the work to maintain peace during Muharram. The increasing rise in violence in Afghanistan prior to the start of the Doha talks was discussed as the ISPR said it affected Pakistan’s security dynamics.[46]

COAS Interactions with Foreign Dignitaries

Outgoing Chinese Ambassador with COAS

On September 17, General Qamar Javed Bajwa hosted a farewell dinner in honour of outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Ambassador Yao Jing. Matters of mutual interest were discussed in the meeting. The COAS appreciated the Chinese envoy’s support towards defence and security cooperation. [47]

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad meets with Chief of Army Staff

On September 14, a delegation headed by the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad called on the COAS at the GHQ. Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq was also present during the meeting. Afghanistan’s ongoing reconciliation process was discussed during the meeting and Khalilzad appreciated Pakistan’s role in facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan.[48] The COAS said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had played a vital role in the start of intra Afghan talks.[49]

US CENTCOM meets Chief of Army Staff

On September 11 General Kenneth F. McKenzie Junior, Commander of the US Central Command paid a visit to General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ. The issue of resumption of peace talks with the Taliban was discussed at the meeting. Regional security, the geo strategic environment and Pak US military cooperation were also discussed at the meeting.[50]

COAS meets Deputy PM Uzbekistan

On September 10 Deputy Prime Minister for Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Mr. Sardor Umurzakov called on Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ. Matters of mutual interest were discussed with a focus on the regional security situation.[51]

Prime Minister’s Interactions with Chief of Army Staff

Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting on September 17

During September 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan met and interacted with Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, 3 times.

  1. The Chief of Army Staff met the Prime Minister at the Prime Minster Office in a meeting to discuss the security situation of the country on September 21.[52]
  2. Prime Minister’s inauguration of the newly built Surgical and Allied Services Block at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar on September 28.[53]
  3. Meeting chaired by PM Imran Khan to discuss establishment of markets along the borders with Iran and Afghanistan on September 17.[54]

Belarus Protests

Thousands protest in Minsk

More than 100,000 people were estimated to have taken to the streets on September 13 as protests continued over the disputed presidential election result of August 9.

Mr. Alexander Lukashenko who enjoys the support of Russian President Vladmir Putin claimed a landslide victory in the elections.[55] The election results were considered dubious by the opposition that launched massive protests in the capital city of Minsk. The protests resulted in the arrest of more than 600 people.

Ms. Svetlana Alexievich, Ms. Maria Kolesnikova and Mrs. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who formed the National Coordinating Council to negotiate with the government, are leading the protests.[56] Maria Kolesnikova is the only member of the Council who still remains in Belarus with the other two having been forced out or exiled. On September 13, she was arrested and driven to the border with Ukraine in an effort to deport her. The opposition leader however tore her passport so she could not cross the border. She remains in jail in Belarus.

Mr. Lukashenko has turned down offers from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold talks to mediate the crisis. Instead, the Belarusian President continues to hold talks with Mr. Putin. Russia has long supported neighbouring Belarus with which it shares a common market. While Mr. Lukashenko refuses to negotiate with the opposition, the Russian Premier has also warned the West from interfering in the affairs of Belarus. The warning has worked with France and Germany staying out of the dispute. However, Poland and the Baltic States have imposed sanctions on Mr. Lukashenko. Mr. Putin has pushed hard for the unification of Belarus with Russia, with offers of military and economic aid accompanied with calls for tighter integration.

Mali Opposition Rejects pro-junta transition

Junta spokesman Ismael Wague addresses a press conference

On September 13, Mali’s Opposition movement rejected a charter for a transition government backed by the military officers who mounted a coup d’état against former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18.

The charter was presented after talks were held between the junta, political parties and representatives of the civil society.[57] The June 5 Movement (M5), a leading political party who participated in the talks stated that the agreement reached during the talks had not been respected. A former Minister and M5 member, Mrs. Sy Kadiatou Sow said the final version of the charter had been “butchered.”

While other members of the June 5 Movement also criticized the text of the agreement, Mr. Moussa Mara, a former Prime Minister has urged the political parties to commit to the agreement in an effort to start the transition period.

The August 18 coup was mounted after sustained protests against corruption, mismanagement of the economy and disputed legislative elections.[58] There has been international pressure on the junta to reinstate the former President with the United Nations also calling for the release of all political prisoners arrested during the coup.

Thailand pro-democracy protests continue

Anti-government protestors hold a demonstration near the Grand Palace in Thailand

On September 19, the protests against Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha continued with thousands of protestors gathering in Bangkok.[59] The protests that had been halted due to Covid-19 have restarted since August, with thousands of people gathering in the capital.

The September 19 protests were said to have been the largest mass gatherings since the protests started in June. [60] The student led protests started as a reaction against the role of the military establishment in elections held earlier in the year. Over time the protestors have included demands for the dissolution of parliament, end of harassment of government critics and for changes to the military backed constitution.[61]


  1. YouTube (2020) Live: Opening remarks of opposition leaders at the PPP hosted APC in Islamabad. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJRDyXuEKzc. (Accessed 19 October 2020)
  2. Wasim, A. (2020) Opposition moot to devise anti-govt strategy today. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580646/opposition-moot-to-devise-anti-govt-strategy-today. (Accessed 20 September 2020)
  3. Wasim, A. (2020) Nawaz takes “parallel government” head-on. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580796/nawaz-takes-parallel-govt-head-on (Accessed 21 September 2020)
  4. PMO (2020) Special Assistant Lieutenant General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa today tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Imran Khan which was not accepted by the Prime Minister. Available at: https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=3601. (Accessed 04 September 2020)
  5. Raza, S. (2020) Govt terms Nawaz’s speech ‘anti-Pakistan’. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580983/govt-terms-nawazs-speech-anti-pakistan. (Accessed 22 September 2020)
  6. Alvi, M. (2020) Opposition and India towing same agenda: Opposition criticism illogical, says PM Imran Khan. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/718093-opposition-india-towing-same-agenda-opp-criticism-illogical-says-pm. (Accessed 22 September 2020)
  7. Chaudhry, A. (2020) Nawaz asks party members to get approval before meeting military leadership. Available on: https://nation.com.pk/25-Sep-2020/nawaz-asks-party-members-to-get-approval-before-meeting-military-leadership. (Accessed 24 September 2020)
  8. Niaz, T. (2020) PML-N’s Zubair met COAS twice to discuss cases, reveals DG ISPR. Available at: https://nation.com.pk/24-Sep-2020/pml-n-s-zubair-met-coas-twice-to-discuss-cases-reveals-dg-ispr. (Accessed 24 September 2020)
  9. Dawn (2020) DG ISPR says PML-N’s Zubair met COAS twice to discuss Maryam, Nawaz. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581232. (Accessed 24 September 2020)
  10. Wasim, A. (2020) Nawaz bars party leaders from meeting army, agencies people. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581499/nawaz-bars-party-members-from-meeting-army-agencies-people. (Accessed 24 September 2020)
  11. The Nation (2020) Opposition wants wedge between army and govt: PM. Available at: https://nation.com.pk/26-Sep-2020/opposition-wants-wedge-between-army-and-govt-pm. (Accessed 25 September 2020)
  12. Raza, S. (2020) Opposition trying to cause army-govt rift: Imran. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581623/opposition-trying-to-cause-army-govt-rift-imran. (Accessed 26 September 2020)
  13. Ashfaque, A. (2020) Military fully backs govt policies, says Imran. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1577820/military-fully-backs-govt-policies-says-imran. (Accessed 04 September 2020)
  14. Youtube (2020) Pakistan’s PM: Our economic affairs is now linked to China | Talk to Al Jazeera. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aTMY-aefjg. (Accessed 03 September 2020)
  15. Dawn (2020) PM for taking parliamentary parties on board in lawmaking. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581661/pm-for-taking-parliamentary-parties-on-board-in-lawmaking. (Accessed 26 September 2020)
  16. Express Tribune (2020) NA Defence committee members reach Miranshah. Available at: https://tribune.com.pk/story/2266194/na-defence-committee-members-reach-north-waziristan. (Accessed 29 September 2020)
  17. ISPR (2020) Members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence headed by Mr Amjad Ali Khan, Chairman of the Committee visited North Waziristan today. Available at: https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5870. (Accessed 29 September 2020)
  18. Wasim, A. (2020) 3 FATF –related bills passed in joint session marred by opposition protests. Available on: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580007. (Accessed 17 September 2020)
  19. Mehboob, A (2020) Disturbing trends in Legislation. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581864/disturbing-trends-in-legislation. (Accessed 27 September 2020)
  20. Khan, I. (2020) Stringent laws to curb child abuse, rape on the cards. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580060/stringent-law-to-curb-child-abuse-rape-on-the-cards. (Accessed 18 September 2020)
  21. Khan, A. (2020) COAS assures Karachi businessmen of help to resolve problems. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1577839/coas-assures-karachi-businessmen-of-help-to-resolve-problems (Accessed 02 September 2020).
  22. The News (2020) Army to help Centre, Sindh to address Karachi’s problems. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/709075-army-to-help-centre-sindh-to-address-problems-of-karachi (Accessed 02 September 2020).
  23. Rao, S (2020) SC can adjudicate disputes between Centre, provinces. Available at: https://nation.com.pk/04-Sep-2020/sc-can-adjudicate-disputes-between-centre-provinces. (Accessed 04 September 2020)
  24. The News (2020) Supreme Court has right to solve disputes among Federation, provinces: CJP. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/709873-sc-has-right-to-solve-disputes-among-federation-provinces-cjp. (Accessed 04 September 2020)
  25. Iqbal, N. (2020) SC questions performance of Karachi city government. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581338/sc-questions-performance-of-karachi-city-government (Accessed on 23 September 2020)
  26. Khan, S. (2020) Devolving LB powers to Federal, provincial governments unlawful: SC. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/719311-devolving-lb-powers-to-Federal-provincial-governments-unlawful-sc (Accessed on 23 September 2020)
  27. Dawn (2020) Records sought over military court convictions. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1578682/record-sought-over-military-court-convictions. (Accessed 09 September 2020)
  28. Raza, S. (2020) Missing SECP official back home after five days. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1578637/missing-secp-official-back-home-after-five-days. (Accessed 09 September 2020)
  29. Asad, M. (2020) IHC summons adviser, police officials over deteriorating law, order in Islamabad. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580214/ihc-summons-adviser-police-officials-over-deteriorating-law-order-in-islamabad. (Accessed 18 September 2020)
  30. Asad, M. (2020) IHC concerned at rise in missing persons’ cases. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1579766/ihc-concerned-at-rise-in-missing-persons-cases. (Accessed 15 September 2020)
  31. The News (2020) People also being kidnapped in vehicles with green number plates: IHC. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/711779-people-also-being-kidnapped-in-vehicles-with-green-number-plates-ihc. (Accessed 09 September 2020)
  32. Kheshgi, K. (2020) Remarks on verdict in Musharraf case: PHC issues contempt notice to ministers, adviser. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/712737-remarks-on-verdict-in-musharraf-case-phc-issues-contempt-notices-to-ministers-adviser. (Accessed 10 September 2020)
  33. Dawn (2020) PHC seeks replies of ministers, other in contempt petitions. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1578865/phc-seeks-replies-of-ministers-others-in-contempt-petitions. (Accessed 10 September 2020)
  34. Iqbal, N. (2020) Porous borders, residents’ support behind APS tragedy: probe body. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581631/porous-border-residents-support-behind-aps-tragedy-probe-body (Accessed on 25 September 2020)
  35. Tahir, Z. (2020) Buzdar govt faces NAB inquiry over army land allotment. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1578889/buzdar-govt-faces-nab-inquiry-over-army-land-allotment. (Accessed 10 September 2020)
  36. The News (2020) NAB opens another corruption case against CM Usman Buzdar. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/712816-nab-opens-another-corruption-case-against-cm-usman-buzdar. (Accessed 11 September 2020)
  37. Dawn (2020) PM wants action plan for agriculture sector. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581328/pm-wants-action-plan-for-agriculture-sector. (Accessed 24 September 2020)
  38. Dawn (2019) Dr Moeed Yusuf appointed special assistant to PM on national security. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1524136 (Accessed 15 August 2020).
  39. PMO (2020) Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the National Security Committee meeting, especially called to review the current status of and Pakistan’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Available at: https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=3344 (Accessed 15 August 2020).
  40. Syed, B. (2020) Opposition leaders told not to drag Army into politics. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580984/opposition-leaders-told-not-to-drag-military-into-politics. (Accessed 22 September)
  41. Ali, I. (2020) Bilawal warns against making national security issues controversial. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1581348/bilawal-warns-against-making-national-security-issues-controversial. (Accessed 24 September 2020)
  42. Wasim, A. (2020) Consensus on GB’s provisional status as province. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580980/consensus-on-gbs-provisional-status-as-province. (Accessed 23 September)
  43. ISPR (2020) 235th Corps Commanders’ Conference presided by General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of army Staff (COAS) held at GHQ. Available at: https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5839 (Accessed 10 September 2020)
  44. Anis, M. (2020) Combat readiness needs enhancing: General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/712677-combat-readiness-needs-enhancing-coas. (Accessed 09 September 2020)
  45. Syed, B. (2020) COAS orders troops to boost combat readiness. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1578891/coas-orders-troops-to-boost-combat-readiness. (Accessed 09 September 2020)
  46. The News (2020) Outgoing Chinese envoy meets General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/716498-outgoing-chinese-envoy-meets-gen-bajwa (Accessed 17 September 2020)
  47. The News (2020) Zalmay Khalilzad calls on COAS. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/715184-zalmay-khalilzad-calls-on-coas (Accessed 14 September 2020)
  48. Dawn (2020) Pakistan’s efforts made Afghan talks possible, says Bajwa. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1579768/pakistans-efforts-made-afghan-talks-possible-says-bajwa (Accessed 15 September 2020)
  49. ISPR (2020) General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, Commander US CENTCOM, called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Available at: https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5846 (Accessed 12 September 2020)
  50. ISPR (2020) H.E Mr Sardor Umurzakov, Deputy Prime Minister for Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ, today. Available at: https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5843 (Accessed on 10 September 2020)
  51. The News (2020) PM Imran Khan, General Qamar Javed Bajwa discuss country’s security situation. Available at: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/718091-pm-coas-discuss-country-s-security-situation. (Accessed 22 September 2020)
  52. Yusufzai, A. (2020) Health reforms to continue despite resistance: PM. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1582188/health-reforms-to-continue-despite-resistance-pm. (Accessed 29 September 2020)
  53. Dawn (2020) 18 markets to be set up along borders with Iran, Afghanistan. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1580291/18-markets-to-be-set-up-along-borders-with-iran-afghanistan. (Accessed 18 September 2020)
  54. Dawn (2020) Tens of thousands rally in Belarus despite mass arrests. Available at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1579512/tens-of-thousands-rally-in-belarus-despite-mass-arrests. (Accessed 14 September 2020)
  55. The Economist (2020) Will Putin save Lukashenko? Available at: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/09/12/will-putin-save-lukashenko. (Accessed 12 September 2020)
  56. Dawn (2020) Mali opposition rejects pro-junta transition charter. Available on: https://www.dawn.com/news/1579511/mali-opposition-rejects-pro-junta-transition-charter. (Accessed 14 September 2020)
  57. BBC News (2020) Mali coup: Military junta seeks transitional president. Available on: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53854372. (Accessed 21 August 2020)
  58. BBC News (2020) Thailand protests: Thousands join huge rally demanding reforms. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54217284. (Accessed 19 September 2020)
  59. McCargo, D. (2020) Can Thailand’s Protest Movement Broaden its Appeal. Available at: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/09/25/thailand-protest-regional-class-generation-divides/. (Accessed 25 September 2020)
  60. Ratcliffe, R. (2020) Thailand protests: everything you need to know. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/22/thailand-protests-everything-you-need-to-know. (Accessed 22 September 2020)