Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fighting a Lost War

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faces a heavy grilling for he holds the position of trust of his people in the parliamentary democracy. According to the Panama leaks, Prime Minister Sharif’s children Maryam, Hasan and Hussain were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies. The leaks revealed the financial wheeling and dealings of over 200 Pakistanis including prominent politicians and businessmen (Gulf News).
Serious allegation: Sharif has said his children have done nothing illegal, but opponents accuse the family of using the tax haven to launder stolen money and dodge taxes. (reuters.com)
 Surprisingly, the trail of his London properties goes all the way back to the early nineties when his children were still minors,  however the PM infers  that he cannot be blamed/accused of what belongs to his children.
 Objection: Chairman Imran Khan (PTI) said the government had set the terms of reference (ToRs) for the commission on its own without any consultation with the opposition and ignored the demand for authorities to hire an international forensic audit firm to assist in the probe. (Gulf News)
PM Sharif talks about his Pakistani-ism, his status as “son of the soil,” born, raised and educated there. He conveniently keeps forgetting that the Panama Papers are about his family’s extensive holdings which have been safely stashed abroad---just in case. The fact, Mayfair properties and the hidden offshore companies owned by his children, unveils his Pakistani-ism with utmost clarity.
Legally speaking, the onus of proof lies upon the prime minister to prove that the facts established by the Panama Papers do not violate the relevant laws. This means he will still need to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the highest judicial panel that the moral norms that attach to the highest executive office of public trust were not violated. He cannot be off the hook unless Pakistani public opinion is re-generated in his favour. Of course, the issues of morality and legality are of serious nature.
Although, the PM has not been named directly in the leaks, yet the opposition parties are in no mood to compromise.  Especially, a tussle between PML-N and the PTI has ensued, and it’s getting rough every hour.
In the meanwhile, “point scoring mode” is switched to “on” position, and the political wrangling among the other political parties is getting bad to worse already.
Naturally, time is ripe for the newly formed political party to jump on the band wagon: A break away from the MQM, Pakistan SarZameen Party (PSP) is already signalling to the opposition parties to get active. The PSP chief Mustafa Kamal while addressing a sizeable crowd at Bagh-e-Jinnah Karachi, called for overhauling the hierarchy of power in the city, stressing that security operations alone are not the solution to combating terrorism. Maybe, he is right for having some workable solution without involving the security forces.
Problem is the PTI hasn’t been able to establish its hold in Sindh and failed in Punjab as well.
Popularity graph is favourable for the PSP in the province of Sindh as MQM and the PPP are losing ground gradually.
Now, the civil society and its institutions are obligated to generate political, judicial and investigative activity appropriately with the help of military having to take an active role within the constitutional limits.
The prime minister must step down for a fairer enquiry: But, it’s up to the judicial-panel to decide, in the light of an investigative audit’s findings if any wrongful activity (illegality or immorality) has actually taken place, and whether or not they render the person concerned (PM Nawaz) disqualified from holding office of public trust.
In the light of developing scenario, mood of politicking is gaining ground, and the anti-PML-n momentum is progressing indeed:
But, MQM now is in no position to, violently or otherwise, obstruct Kamal’s rallies or stop people joining them, but his recent show did not do enough.
A considerable disillusionment with the MQM is noticeable; the PSP is yet to prove that it’s the one that offers a meaningful alternative. Technocratic Mustafa Kamal has tried to bring coverage to the PSP by staging a large press conference every time a new politician joins his party.
Caution: Again, the PSP can learn from the PTI, for it is unclear whether the scramble to get “Electables” as members would do any good in the long run.
Conclusion: There are a lot of allegations against the prime minister of Pakistan and corruption is at its peak, but developing the economic corridor and orange line projects are also a positive reality in the best interest of Pakistan.
Bitter reality is Pakistan has lost billions of dollars in lost revenue due to money transfer to the off shore companies unethically or illegally.
Certainly, the political parties are eyeing for an early election. Unfavourable time is ahead for Nawaz Sharif as trust-deficit continues to deteriorate his reputation; this progression of negative development is most likely to facilitate his ouster.

Consulted sources:

Dawn.com, Thenews.com.pk, nation.com.pk, Gulf News, Reuters

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