Volume 21 Issue 6 June 2017
 
 
 
By Shakeel Farooqui

All is well’ in fact, is an old popular lullaby which the ‘yes men’ sing on a daily basis to keep the rulers in deep sleep, so that they are completely unaware of what’s happening to his subjects. The yes-men do not make waves or criticisms and make the ruler so addicted to sycophancy that he dislikes arguments which, for him are a sign of dissent and that is disloyalty. History, especially Muslim history, is replete with instances where the sycophantic culture was the root cause of the downfall of many powerful men. The history of politics in Pakistan is in no way different. Both military and civil leaders in the country have been victims of this culture.

By Hafiz Inam

Rulers generally live in a dream world where they are constantly informed by their confidantes that all is well and the country is progressing under their leadership. Such advisers lull the rulers to the extent that the latter takes their word as authentic. A striking example of the ignorance of the leadership is what has been witnessed recently.

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PRESIDENT & EDITOR IN CHIEF
Syed Jawaid Iqbal

MANAGING EDITOR
Zeba Jawaid

EDITOR
Javed Ansari

ASSISTANT EDITORS
Faizan Usmani
Hafiz Inam
Mahrukh Farooq

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
S. G. Jilanee

CONTRIBUTORS
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Khawaja Amir
Huzaima Bukhari
Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Shakeel Farooqui
Dr. Ikramul Haq
Muhammad Omar Iftikhar
Farhia Jabbar
S.G. Jilanee
Dr. Raza Khan
Taj M Khattak
Zehra Khawaja
Dr. Syed Ali Madni
K. A. Naqshbandi
S. Mubashir Noor
Hujjatullah Zia

GRAPHICS & LAYOUT
Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed
Riaz Masih

MARKETING & ADVERTISING
Aqam-ud-Din Khan

SPECIAL PROJECTS
Syed Ovais Akhtar
Hira Sarwar

COORDINATOR
Shehryar Zulfiqar

CIRCULATION
Danish Shahid



SouthAsia is published every month by Syed Jawaid Iqbal for and on behalf of JAWZ Communications (Pvt.) Ltd.

Views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily shared by the editors.

Published since 1977 as Thirdworld, the magazine was re-launched in 1997 as SouthAsia.




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By Khawaja Amir

Pakistan is plagued with problems like poverty, illiteracy, power outages, lack of healthcare, price hikes, unemployment and a lot more that directly affects the life of a common Pakistani. But then it is probably the ‘All is Well’ report that the rulers of Pakistan get from their courtiers or, more appropriately, their henchmen that allows them to sleep in peace while the people continue to suffer at levels and in all segments of life. Their sufferings span from load-shedding to bad governance, poor garbage management, disappearing utility services to, insecurity, etc. If we compare the seven decades of our independence with that of Malaysia which attained independence in 1957, we find ourselves decades behind. The only reason seems to be the role of ‘yes men’ in the lives of our rulers who very conveniently convince them that if there is a shortage of bread there is enough cake in the market so there is nothing to worry.


Though the much talked about Panama Case verdict immediately brought the PML(N) party workers to the streets, distributing mithai and doing the dhamal, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is still on tenterhooks as he, along with his two sons, have been asked to appear before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The Supreme Court has asked the JIT to submit its final report within sixty days. The Supreme Court will also monitor the proceedings of the team on a periodic basis. Denying a clean chit to the Prime Minister, the court has ordered a multi-agency probe against the incumbent prime minister. In its judgment, the SC has directed NAB, FIA, SBP, SECP, ISI and MI to nominate representatives to probe whether the prime minister and his family members had accumulated assets beyond their known sources of income.
Interestingly, the leader of the bench that heard the Panama case is Justice Asif Saeed Khosa. His note in the Supreme Court's verdict started with a reference to Mario Puzo’s popular 1969 novel “The Godfather” and the quote ‘Behind every great fortune there is a crime,’ which is very telling. In his novel, the author recounts the machinations of a Mafia family. Mario Puzo’s novel was a popular piece of fiction and was turned into a hit film. It is believed that the epigraph of the novel was inspired by a sentence earlier written by Honoré de Balzac in French. The quotation selected by honourable Justice Khosa was enough to demonstrate his perceptions about the case. Before Justice Khosa, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja is also known to have made use of a quotation from literature in one of his judgments.

The judgment, comprising 540 pages, was based on a 3-2 split decision. The five-judge bench included Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed, in their note, considered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif disqualified while the other three judges favoured composition of a JIT to establish the facts before a final decision could be taken. As such, this can be termed as no more than an interim verdict. It may be mentioned here that Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who decided that Nawaz Sharif stood disqualified after they heard the Panama Case, will succeed Chief Justice Saqib Nisar as the 26th and 27th Chief Justices, respectively, of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Though the prime minister has been given a breathing space of 67 days, his chances of facing the humiliation of being removed from office are not over. The 3-2 split judgment of the five-member bench has certainly not cleared him or his family of allegations of misconduct. The first family has to face JIT investigations into the money trail and the properties they own in London. The JIT is authorized to examine the evidence and material pertaining to the case, relating to or having any nexus with the possession or acquisition of the London flats or any other assets or financial resources and their origin. The JIT has been mandated to submit reports of its progress before a special bench – a request for its formation is part of the judgment. The JIT has also been given a sixty-day deadline to file its final report.

In light of a very carefully drafted and comprehensive decision, the victory celebrations of PML (N) workers and voluble speeches of its leaders on this interim decision were definitely premature as the final verdict was at least 70 days away. The note of dissent from the two honourable senior-most judges should be taken rather seriously, especially in light of Justice Khosa’s reference to The Godfather, a Mafia don. Moreover, though three judges have not agreed to Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar, there is a consensus that the Sharif family has failed to provide substantive evidence regarding the source of the money used to buy expensive properties in London.

Within 30 minutes of announcement of the judgment, it was made known through the TV channels that the Prime Minister would be addressing the nation that evening. However, apparently when the Prime Minister was made to realize by some of his advisers that the judgment was actually NOT in his favour, he decided not to address the nation. It is obvious that the judgment has further weakened the Prime Minister’s position. It would have been more in the fitness of things if Nawaz Sharif had resigned his premiership after being told that two of the senior-most judges felt that he should have been disqualified. He could have nominated someone else from his party to complete his tenure just as the PPP had done when Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was punished by the Supreme Court. Such an action would have established Nawaz Sharif as a person with high moral courage and his image would have been strengthened in the eyes of the public. While the decision and Nawaz Sharif’s stubbornness has weakened his position, it has also not strengthened the position of Imran Khan. Both of them have to wait for the final verdict with patience. It is hoped that better counsels will prevail on both sides. Nawaz Sharif needs to advise his workers to stop slinging mud on the opposition and concentrate on doing proper homework for appearing before the JIT.

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A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

This is with reference to the article by Dr. Syed Ali Madni on the new uniform for Punjab police. Considering the track record of the police force across Pakistan, the introduction of a new uniform in Punjab is a cosmetic change and it has nothing to do with bringing the much-needed reforms in the police. The rate of street crime is on the increase and thousands of cases are pending unresolved for years. Today’s police are characterised by their lack of professionalism and a waning sense of duty. On most occasions, police personnel are found indulging in unlawful activities. In general, the police are regarded as the most corrupt, as well as one of the biggest sources of evil in our society. How will the recent uniform change bring about any positive change in the police that even does not register an FIR (First Information Report) without receiving some money?

Kashif Ali Bhatti,
Lahore, Pakistan.


Much Ado about Nothing

In April, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid made a two-day state visit to India. During her visit, she signed some six agreements and 16 MOUs with India in the areas of cyber security, judicial sector cooperation, peaceful uses of outer space and nuclear energy, the regulation of Motor Vehicle Passenger Traffic along the Khulna-Kolkata route, etc. To be very honest, the signing of these agreements and MOUs is quite a routine matter, which cannot be termed as a historical development made by both countries. Most importantly, Hasina Wajid missed a wonderful opportunity to resolve such long-standing issues between India and Bangladesh as the decommissioning of the Farakka Barrage, sharing of Ganges waters, demarcation of the maritime boundary and the building of electric barbed wire fencing along the border.

Farheen Khawaja,
Sylhet, Bangladesh.

 

ADB’s Role in South Asia

This is with reference to last month’s cover story on the Asian Development Bank. There is no doubt about the fact that the ADB has been playing a vital role in the development of South Asian countries. Particularly, the ADB's assistance to developing countries in the region in terms of energy infrastructure development is quite crucial. To me, however, the ADB lacks a true democratic spirit in its governance structure. It has been reduced into a monopolised institution revolving around a specific donor country, which, along with a selected pool of investors and financial institutions, has been steering the Bank in a way that serves their vested interests first. Knowing the fact that there are no such things as a free lunch, such assistance has both short and long term cost that is often paid by the member countries in the long run.

Arsalan Amjad,
Islamabad, Pakistan.


A Welcome Move

At last, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to revise its faulty ‘Big Three’ model, which allowed India, England and Australia to enjoy the largest share of ICC revenues in comparison with the rest of the ICC’s full and associate members. The move is commendable as it is against the spirit of the game to classify teams based on their earning potential, instead of judging them on the basis of their performance. Bringing an end to the financial supremacy of the so-called ‘Big Three’ countries, this will bring in a much-needed parity among the ICC members and will lead to the formation of an equal opportunity environment. I congratulate the ICC for taking the right step towards purifying the gentleman’s game.

J. P. Nanayakkara,
Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Garbage Tragedy

In terms of urban infrastructure, civic management and municipal service delivery, Sri Lanka is ranked above the other South Asian countries. However, the massive Meethotamulla garbage dump, located in Potuwilkumbura on the north-eastern edge of Colombo, has exposed the sorry state of municipal affairs in the capital. In April, more than 30 people died due to the collapse of the massive 300-foot waste dump that destroyed some 145 homes located near the site. This happens to be the most unusual tragedy that has occurred in the history of Sri Lanka which has not been able to dump its waste scientifically. Lack of proper waste disposal mechanism has now become a national concern, resulting in a law and order crisis. The government must consider the matter on a priority basis and needs to utilise all available resources to find an immediate, but sustainable solution of the ongoing waste disposal crisis.

S. K. V Samarasekera,
Galle, Sri Lanka.

 
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