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Archive for June, 2018

THE CPEC STORY

With the Pacific Ocean dominated by the US and Japan while the Indian Ocean by the US (conceivably along with its new ally India), China has to turn to its centuries old land routes. As far back as the 11th century, Genghis Khan was exhorting his generals not to depend upon the seas but upon merchants and land routes for trade. In 1941 Japan went to war being denied sea access to sources of raw material in South and Southwest Asia. An efficient network of land, sea and air passages in Asia, Europe and Africa, that would not be prone to intervention by hostile powers during times of crisis, the “One Belt one Road” (OBOR) strategic initiative was thus launched by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.

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ABRAAJ FIGHTS BACK

The allegations of mishandling investors’ funds against Abraaj, a firm that has grown to become one of the most trusted private equity names and one of the developing world’s most influential investors, shocked investors and financial institutions triggering distress signals. Hue and cry raised complaints by some investors having ulterior motivation that the Dubai-based Abraaj Group had mishandled their money. The forced firm to file for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands. Such a court-supervised provisional liquidation would allow Abraaj to restructure debt, negotiate with creditors and sell assets if needed. It would also allow a moratorium on the holding company’s unsecured claims. The filing would also enable Abraaj to continue talks with possible equity partners for a deal to acquire its fund management operations ie excluding the $1 billion healthcare fund which was the subject of allegations. This application had the full support of the Company’s secured creditors who reiterated their desire for provisional liquidators to be appointed to formulate and implement a restructuring of the Company’s liabilities which would be in the best interests of all concerned.

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JUSTICE DELAYED, JUSTICE DENIED

When former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced July 25 as the Election Day 2018, the mystery was why (1) he gave only 60 days instead of the 90 days that he could and (2) why he did not pay heed to the extremely hot weather of June and July which would not only make campaigning almost impossible but deter voters from coming out to vote? The third part of the puzzle fell into place when Khawaja Haris, legal counsel of Mian Nawaz Sharif, withdrew from representing his client in the corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). That effectively threw a legal spanner in continuing the trial process of conviction of the Sharif family in three corruption references in the accountability court, accused of money laundering, tax evasion and hiding offshore assets. Add to that perjury, forgery, falsifying information, intimidating judges and investigating staff, etc.

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UNDOING A GANGSTER HEAVEN

Consensus on matters ensuring security and welfare of the common man is rarely achieved by our Parliament. Such unanimity is only displayed when their own self-interest is at stake, like approving increments in their salary, added perks and privileges, etc. In October last year all the parliamentary parties banded together to delete as many as 19 declarations from the nomination papers to be submitted by candidates for the upcoming general elections, effectively eliminating key information about their education, close relatives, occupation, finances, net assets and liabilities, loan default, taxation returns and evasion thereof, criminal proceedings and business interests, etc. Unless they have something to hide what earthly reason can anyone have for not declaring truthful details about himself and his family?

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