Emergence of new era for Pakistan and the world




Muhammad Arif

In the second decade of 21st century world and its countries are looking like for another big shift. Somewhere in the name of accountability, somewhere targeting someone else, somewhere to save the nation with self made rhetoric's, somewhere with populist and short lived slogans.
However with waves of strong social media, things in reality are looking to be changed day by day.
In Pakistan, on 15th June 2017, PM Nawaz sharif appeared before the JIT formed by the Supreme Court to probe Panama Leaks scandal that has now over stretched to one year. The Prime Minister's appearance was another example onward ZA Bhutto who was hanged by the Judiciary of Pakistan and Yusuf Raza Gillani who was thrown out of Prime Ministership when Supreme Court charged him with contempt of court. Others who even dismembered Pakistan and given access on Pakistan land to India have never been brought to the justice.
After turning out from JIT where he was questioned for more than three hours he read a written statement before the media. He pointed out that:
1. He was clean as questions raised pertaining to his business and not with wrong use of his power as PM;
2. He indicated that his three generations are under probe since 1936 and he has submitted all documents pertaining to his business;
3. He also said that forward going his party is not going to tolerate factories that are hatching conspiracies and making plans against elected government with rumor-mongering on daily basis;
4. He also said if this continued than it would hurt Pakistan integrity and this cannot be allowed;
5. During his post investigation media talk, the Prime Minister, while rejecting allegations of corruption, also said that the cases filed against him and his family are politically motivated. Referring to 'a bigger JIT' next year, the Premier also rejected the impression that the party would hold the General Election before next year.
The appearance of Nawaz Sharif has raised certain questions like:
1. Unfortunately law is equal for all politicians in the country but not to others. Following the development, pressure will increase on the judiciary to proceed the cases against former dictator Pervez Musharraf;
2. History teaches us that people are held accountable one day, no matter how powerful they are;
3. With the appearance of PM Sharif before the JIT, a new leaf in history is being made and a new precedent is being set for the coming prime ministers;
4. Currently, Nawaz Sharif is the only target and no other politician will be held accountable in near future.
5. The government will probably take initiative to hold other politicians accountable.
6. Questions are already being raised against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Before his appearance his two sons have already been appeared before the JIT - Hussain Nawaz five times while Hassan Nawaz twice - with long hours to wait and to go for questions.
His brother Shahbaz Sharif has also appeared on 17th June 2017 with the same versions. His son-in-law and some other relatives have also been called by the JIT in the coming days.
The PM with his family is going for Umrah in the last week of this month, will say Eid prayers in Medina and then will go to London. So he would be back by July 2017 and from there fight would start again.
The political fate of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been hanging in balance since April 20 this year when two senior judges of the Supreme Court disqualified him while three others preferred to wait for more evidence to emerge through Joint Investigation Team comprising officials from country's top investigating bodies, the State Bank and more importantly military-run secret services - the ISI and MI.
Investigating officials were directly nominated by the top court after its adverse ruling regarding how systematically Prime Minister Nawaz has been controlling the State institutions. 
The pattern of financial crimes highlights the decades-long old modus operandi of the top ruling class who has allegedly minted money in the name of mega-development projects. Their agents extensively purchase dollars from the open market and smuggle them out of the country to set up secret offshore companies, thus building a business empire abroad. The part of the smuggled currency is then legalized by channeling it back to Pakistan through the banking system in order to run their political campaigns and maintain a luxurious lifestyle.
A very complicated system of bank accounts is used across the globe to conceal the identities of the real owners before the money obtained through kickbacks in Pakistan ends up in off-shore companies in foreign destinations. These off-shore companies then purchase properties on behalf of their real hidden owners. This pattern of money laundering has been allegedly used in cases involving former President Asif Zardari and his late wife Benazir Bhutto, as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children and even Imran Khan.
In early 2016, Prime Minister's son Hussain Nawaz publicly admitted having owned overseas off-shore companies in anticipation of the Panama Paper scandal. He argued that it was entirely legal for him to do so since he was a foreign national who could claim immunity from prosecution in Pakistan. As a matter of fact, this was an attempt to save the Prime Minister who apparently had no direct holdings in off-shore business as detailed in the Panama Paper scandal.
However, in accordance with Pakistan's law, the entire burden of proof has virtually fallen upon Nawaz Sharif being an elected Prime Minister no less than three times, given the fact that his children were dependent on him when expensive properties were purchased in London through two Panama-based off-shore companies Nielsen and Nescoll between 1993 and 1995.
Therefore, the Prime Minister allegedly manufactured facts that these proprieties were purchased after 2006 to show that his children were independent at the time, and therefore accountable for their own wrongdoings. The entire defence of son Hussain Nawaz revolved around the fact that his grandfather had chosen him to inherit the entire family business, which the elder Sharif first set up in Dubai, Qatar and then in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the early 2000s, and that the sale of steel mills in Saudi Arabia had helped Hussain Nawaz to purchase properties in London in 2006.
The success of the investigators largely hinges upon not only new pieces of evidence but also on how far they would go in retrieving the original documents containing real evidence from Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the top investigating bodies that are also known to be infested with corruption.
Ishaq Dar, Pakistan's Finance Minister, in a confessional affidavit before a magistrate in 2000 provided specific details on how money was channeled illegally outside Pakistan on behalf of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab. Dar is also a close relative of the Prime Minister.
Later, Dar retracted from his statement, arguing that he did so under duress from the then military rulers and subsequently Lahore High Court set aside his confessional affidavit. The real trick was played by NAB by not filing an appeal with the Supreme Court against this unusual High Court verdict. Two Supreme Court judges in their dissenting note on April 20 this year ordered the NAB to file an appeal with the top court requesting the waiver of time-bar condition to hear the appeal against High Court ruling.
Now the real legal turnaround would revolve around the ability of investigators to reach to the conclusion in their final findings within next two months, in order to prove that Dar's past confessional statement corroborates with the evidence that hopefully, they should retrieve from the NAB and FIA or any other source in and outside Pakistan. This would pave the way for three members forming the majority judges overseeing this investigation process to also order NAB to file an appeal against Lahore High Court verdict in favor of Dar. Even if one among these three judges orders NAB to file an appeal with the Supreme Court, the case is most likely to be reopened since two other judges have already made these orders. If that happens, then sooner or later, the political fate of both Sharif brothers will be sealed.
Another uphill task of the investigators would be to verify parts of photocopies of Panama papers which provide insight on how Maryam Nawaz was the beneficial owner of off-shore business companies. Probably that is an important clue which if verified through more investigations could put an end to her ambitions to replace her father after next general elections.
But the main question here is that with finalization of Nawaz Sharif case whether corruption in Pakistan would go back from the front seat as now it stands. Before 1958 and then onward 1977 corruption has infiltrated into veins of every Pakistani. Now if you ask any question about Pakistan everybody would say it has no future. But this version is wrong. Pakistan belongs to its people and not to elites with their strings in the hands of foreign powers. So they would protect Pakistan. Further crisis would get over if any one; every institution and all corners of Pakistan become equal according to word and word written in the constitution. This is not easy practically as in the past lot of time constitution has been put on abeyance and has been surpassed for some group's interest.
Just for example we can say about budget of 2017-18 where nominal benefits have been given to the people with maximum to elites. Both President of Pakistan and leader of the opposition Khursheed Shah got considerable increase as compared to common man with increase of some hundred. In the process of passing of budget neither PPP nor Imran Khan went to the parliament and both sat outside just to allow PML-N to pass its budget. This is how all are making fool of every one in Pakistan.
Now going world over, in fact, in 2017 shifts are coming in most of the countries in the world. Mostly in favor of its people where friendly stance is coming back from left and right extremism that had entrenched the whole world during its last century. World has now become a village in reality and every change in every country effects its neighbor countries, region and then world of course.
Looking world over coming of Trump, elections in UK, Iran and France with Qatari crisis dividing middle east further and role of China and Russia becoming more prominent in development of the world are some examples.
Now looking for UK where Conservatives have gone back against Labors but still in the government, Brexit negotiations between the UK and the European Union have become more important that is scheduled to be finalized before March 2019. In these negotiations UK would try to get some benefits for getting out of European Union in terms of exports, imports with European counterparts and on immigrants issue. The parties must reach an agreement by March 2019, if the UK has to avoid crashing out of the bloc with no deal.
But others have noted that the UK political landscape has never looked less clear. This could be a mess for the United Kingdom in the years ahead. However it all depends on how Theresa May, DUP and Labor party behaves.
The election has raised hopes of a dramatic change in Britain's approach to Brexit. But whatever happens next, the country remains boxed in by some hard legal, political and commercial realities. Here is some likelihood for with five possible scenarios: 1. A consensual but hard Brexit 2. A softer Brexit 3. Chaos and car-crash Brexit 4. EFTA (European Free Trade Association), like Norway and Switzerland membership for UK 5. A second referendum.
Now we come to the 2017 French presidential election held on 23 April and 7 May 2017. As no candidate won a majority in the first round on 23 April, a run-off was held between the top two candidates, Emmanuel-Macron (centrist) and Marine-Le-Pen often National Front (FN) (Far right), which Macron won by a decisive margin on 7 May. Estimations of the result of the second round on 7 May indicated that Macron had been elected by a decisive margin, and Le Pen immediately conceded defeat. Macron took office on 14 May and named Eduard Philippe as Prime Minister on 15 May; the government was assembled on 17 May.
Macron's fledgling centrist movement could, with its centrist allies, go from zero to as many as 430 seats in the 577-seat French national assembly. This would be one of the biggest majorities in France since the end of the Second World War.
"France is back," declared the prime minister, Eduard Philippe, as the news came through. "For the past month, the president has shown confidence, willingness and daring in France and on the international stage". He called the result a vindication of Macron's "winning strategy".
The traditional left and right parties that dominated parliament for decades have been thrown out. 
Emmanuel Macron's takeover of French politics is all but complete. The newly elected French leader's gamble that voters wanted to throw out old faces and try something new is paying off in full - first by giving him the presidency and, the crucial first step toward securing the economy back and giving more rights to the laborers.
Another crisis going on in the Europe is of Greece debt crisis. After months of haggling that raised fears of another escalation in Greece's near 8-year debt crisis, the 19-country euro zone cleared the release of a further 8.5 billion Euros ($9.5 billion) after the Greek government delivered on an array of reforms. Getting the money was becoming increasingly urgent as Greece has a big repayment hump next month.
Perhaps more importantly for the longer-term, the so-called Euro group made clear that it is ready to ease the burden of Greece's debt repayments at the conclusion of the current bailout program next year. The International Monetary Fund may also get involved financially, on a limited basis of up to $2 billion.
The left-led Greek government, which has lost a lot of support since signing up for the country's third bailout even after campaigning against austerity, hopes. The latest deal will help it get to a position to tap the international bond markets that lost faith in 2010 and forced Greece to rely on rescue money.
Among the measures offered to Greece was a possible 15-year extension in debt and interest payments due European creditors. Also, following a recommendation from the new French government of President Emmanuel Macron, the possibility was raised of linking Greek repayments to growth, which could mean debt repayments being postponed in the event of an adverse shock.
In return for these assurance, Greece's government will have to continue with strict budgetary discipline beyond the end of its bailout program, including running a budget surplus after debt and interest payments of 3.5 percent of GDP through 2022 and then around 2 percent until 2060.
The Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) in Germany led by Angela Merkel, has maintained a double-digit lead over the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in opinion polling since the 2013 election, aside from a period in early 2017 following the selection of Martin Schulz as SPD leader. The elections are due in Germany this year opening another Pandora box as Germany is one of the three strong countries of Europe other than UK and France.
Now coming to changes in Turkey and Iran where in Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have moved from democratic setup to one man show. Turkey is now trying to move in the region to eradicate Kurdish issue. Iran under newly elected president Rouhani has brought the person again in to power encircled with clerics meaning that people of Iran wants to come out of capsule and go for strengthening ties with other countries.
Above going and importantly China is making now waves. With a $ 12 trillion economy with growth rates yet above 6% with $ 3 trillion as exchange reserves it is moving towards becoming really a global power. With institution of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the one belt one road concept china is going to gain main leadership in the world whereas with economies growing everywhere with humps and downs world has now become a multi-polar world and would remain so in the future.
Now Coming back to Pakistan, on its eastern borders of Pakistan India stands that has now after Brexit, Erdogan, Putin and then Trump has turned in to a rotten democracy in the form of Mody who through populist moves became India PM in My 2014. He factually fits in to paraphrase of Jean Paul Sartre a French philosopher that "if the truth remains cloaked in the motherland, in the colonies it stands naked". Hence his presence would always retain the region destabilized.
Now coming back to world appearance of Trump in USA with many faces have brought a wave of change in USA as well. First time USA has strained relations with its neighbors i.e. Canada and Mexico. His arrival in Saudi Arabia has opened the gate for another divide in the Gulf region but with change of leadership in Iran under Rouhani would counter this kind of plans.
So with emerging new faces with some old faces going on in the world including Pakistan would revert towards peace and development for the interest of its people.

Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), former Head of FSCD SBP, former Head of Research Arif Habib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan.