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Archive for July, 2018

DEFINING MOMENT

Pakistan’s third-ever democratic elected process leading to the transition of power took place on 25 July 2018. More than 100 political parties contested the 272 seats in the National Assembly (NA), the balance reserved seats being allocated on a proportionate basis with an outright majority would need to have 172 seats. A quick look at the unofficial results show that with nearly 115 NA seats Imran Khan’s PTI is capable of making the Federal and KPK govts, but will be hard put to make the govt in the Punjab, even with independents. As things stand today PML (N) can make a weak coalition govt in the Punjab. Will PML (N) risk this?

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150 HRS TO A NEW DAWN?

Though the usual feudal modus operandi for obtaining votes, particularly in the rural areas, is through outright coercion and/or intimidation, it also depends upon who counts the vote, and even more importantly, who gets to collate it. With rigging/tampering with ballot and ballot boxes fairly widespread in 2008 and 2013, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) must be given credit for taking effective steps for minimizing electoral fraud of various kinds.

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WRITING ON THE WALL

Even a cursory analysis of the three Nawaz Sharif sackings as PM reveals one constant sordid fact, his incurring penchant to listen to a bunch of “unelectable advisors” who constantly feed his already inflated ego about his supposed omni-potency. The 1993 sacking did him wonders, turning an Establishment “puppet on the throne” into a politician of some standing in his own right. In the second sacking in 1999 the Army swiftly countered Nawaz’s civilian coup, the Punjab CM brother Shahbaz Sharif was put into handcuffs lost out for no fault of his own. Shahbaz survived the last sacking in 2017 a year ago, giving the workaholic a unique opportunity to show off his development projects, mostly in Lahore, and shrug of Nawaz’s charismatic giant shadow to lead a political life of his own. Maryam had nothing to do with Nawaz’s second sacking, everything to do with his third.

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BEGGARING PAKISTAN THROUGH “DEMOCRACY”

When criminals or the corrupt disguise the original ownership and control of the proceeds of criminal conduct by making them appear to have derived from a legitimate source, this is known as money-laundering. Billions of dollars of criminally derived money is laundered through financial institutions every year globally, however criminal money can be laundered without assistance of the financial sector. The nature of the services and products offered by the financial services industry (namely managing, controlling and possessing money and property belonging to others) means that it is vulnerable to abuse by money-launderers.

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NAB BECOMING EFFECTIVE AGAIN

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) came into existence on 16 Nov 1999. Simultaneously Special Investigation Wings (SIWs) were raised from the ISI to assist National Accountability Ordinance (NAB) in collecting relevant information about the accused persons. FIA and ACEs directors of all four provinces with NAO provisions of ‘power to seek assistance were placed under direct command with investigation officers and allied staff for conduct of probes, inquiries/investigation and filing of references by NAB. Corps NAB Cells were transformed into RAB (Regional Accountability Bureaus),eventually becoming Regional NABs under directions of the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan.

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NATIONAL WATER POLICY

The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) delivered a grim warning that “water” availability in the country had touched the “water stress line” in 1990 before crossing the “water scarcity line” in 2005, without positive action the country would run out of water by 2025. “Despite having the world’s largest glaciers, Pakistan is among the world’s 36 most water-stressed countries. As the population rapidly increases, water demand is projected to far outstrip supply. Immediate coordinated planning and implementation is required to avert disaster”. Without measures to save rapidly depleting water resources, climate change coupled with rapid urbanisation and population growth will further impact the availability of water. With a drought-like situation likely in the near future, the gravity of the situation can be graphically illustrated from the per capita availability of water in 1947 being over 5,000 cubic metres, has shrunk to just 1,000 cubic metres today.

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