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China-Pakistan Cooperation in Eliminating Corruption

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Prime Minister Imran Khan, after winning election held on 25 July 2018, in his maiden speech, pointed out that he is impressed by China’s experience in eradicating Poverty and overcoming the Corruption. He stressed to learn from Chinese experiences to implements in Pakistan to eradicate Poverty and root-out Corruption.

Pakistan in facing an external debt of upto 95 billion US dollars. Last two consecutive governments took major part of this loan and got personal benefits. Their personal assets increased exponentially but the country suffered a lot. The corruption and nepotism was at peak. In fact, they appointed their loyal to almost all important posts, who served as their front men and facilitated them in looting national wealth.

PTI Government is facing huge challenges due to corruption and nepotism of previous governments. PTI promised the nation to eliminate corruption and nepotism from the country, before general election held on 25 July 2018. After winning the election, PTI is focused to full-fill its promise with the nation. It is rather up-hill task, but Prime Minister Imran Khan is a strong man and determined to root out the menace of corruption once for all. Unlike past, where influential were given exemption, and only small corrupts were held accountable, this time, it was witnessed that the accountability has not spared any one, irrespective to their position or status. Even previous head of the states like President, Prime Minister, and Ministers etc., are accountable. This is “Naya” New Pakistan, where each one is treated equally.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the prime institution to curb corruption, its  Chairman Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal on Sunday, 6 January 2019, said that the anti-graft watchdog has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China to oversee China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects being completed in Pakistan. Currently, all the commercial activities are revolving around CPEC, as most of mega projects are under CPEC and major investment is also under CPEC. CPEC is pivotal role in Pakistan’s whole economy.

He said that considering corruption as cancer, NAB has chalked out a comprehensive National Anti-Corruption Strategy for logical conclusion of mega corruption white collar crimes cases by adopting the policy of ‘Accountability for All’ as the figures of complaints, inquiries and investigations are almost double as compared to the figures of the period between 2017 to 2018. The comparative figures for the last one year from October 2017 to December 2018 are indicative of hard work being put in by all ranks of NAB officers in an atmosphere of renewed energy and dynamism, where the fight against corruption is being taken as a national duty, he added.

He said that NAB is committed to rooting out corruption in all its forms and manifestations across the board with iron hands. He said that NAB has established a state-of-the-art forensic science lab in Islamabad which has facilities of digital forensics, questioned documents and fingerprint analysis which will be utilized for further improvements in the quality of inquiries and investigations. The NAB chief said that due to the prescribed timeline of 10 months for efficient, effective and expeditious disposal of cases from complaint verification-to-inquiry-to-investigation and finally to a reference in the accountability court, NAB has filed 440 corruption references from October 2017 to September 2018 which is a record achievement.

He said that NAB has introduced a new concept of Combine Investigation Team (CIT) in order to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers, hence a system of CIT comprising of a director, additional director, investigation officer and a senior legal counsel has been put in place. This is not only lending quality to the work but also ensuring that no single individual can influence the official proceedings of NAB. He also said that NAB has signed MOU with China to oversee CPEC projects being completed in Pakistan.

Transparency International (TI), PILDAT, Mishal, Gillani and Gallop survey and World Economic Forum have appreciated NAB’s efforts in the eradication of corruption. NAB, in a very short span of time, has established over 50,000 character-building societies in universities/colleges to create awareness against corruption which has proved very successful and now the young generation is aware of the ill effects of corruption and has joined hands with NAB to eradicate corruption from the country. We are optimistic that Pakistan may over-come corruption in very near future.

In a matter of fact, corruption is the major cause of poverty in Pakistan and as well as in developing countries. While, the beneficiary of corruption are the developed world. The influential people from Developing countries, stolen and looted wealth transfer to the developed countries. In other words, the developed countries provided them safe custody of their illegal wealth. It contributes to their economy, so they provide them protection. Although, there is an awareness among the public of developing nations and some of the countries have already taken some measures to control corruption. But unless the international community cooperate and sincerely try to control it, little success is expected. UN and International community may formulate legislation, where the developed countries may not be able to provide them protection. Without cooperation from Developed World, eliminating corruption may turn a dream only.

China has gained success in controlling corruption to a huge extent that is why Pakistan wanted to learn from Chinese experience and signed MoU.Since the President Xi Jin Ping , came into power, an anti-graft movement was initiated and till date, thousands of high profile officials and business tycoons were arrested and recovered the illegal money from them or punished exemplary. Chinese model of fighting against the corruption is to spare none, irrespective of his/her position or status. Even they have not spared Ministers, Governors, Party’s senior officials or big tycoons from business community.

It is expected that PTI government will meet its manifesto of eliminating corruption from this society. Cooperation with China is a big initiative in this regard and yet many other initiatives have to be taken to meet the sever challenges. It might need to pass new legislations, and introduce reforms in the judicial system of Pakistan, as some of laws are rather out dated back to century old colonial era. Today, the world has emerged a high-tech and cyber styled. Our Law enforcement mechanism and judiciary may not be able to coup with white collar crimes. Wide range, comprehensive, reforms are also required to address the complicated and radical crimes.

NADRA is one of the very well and equipped institution to handle the hi-tech crimes. Pakistan may use all possible latest technologies to investigate modern time crimes.

The popularity of PM Imran Khan will increase if he succeeded in elimination corruption and recovered the looted money from high profile criminals.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.

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South Asia

PTI Government in Pakistan: To full-fill its promise on curbing Corruption

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Big achievements of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaf) Government in Pakistan. Corruption is an international phenomenon, especially among developing and underdeveloped countries. Corruption is a major hurdle in the fight against poverty and development. However, the beneficiary of corruption is still the developed world. The rulers from developing and underdeveloped world, transfer all their black money to developed countries and in the end, developed world enjoy out of their black money.

Pakistan, being a developing country, no exception to this curse. During the last few governments, it was very much visible. Either it was financial corruption of moral corruption, all are equally harmful to the country. Previous few governments, appointed corrupt and unqualified persons on key posts and used them as their front men in corruption.

Some of their front men were an evil genius and committed heinous crimes in such a technical manner that it is very difficult to find out evidence. Either it is fake accounts or various forms of money laundering or in the form of subsidies or government grants, commissions or kickbacks in projects or procurement, bribes or gift, all are the same but with different forms to harm the socio-economic of this country.

It was in the manifesto of PTI, and part of its slogan during the election campaign, to fight against corruption. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his speech on several occasions has promised with the nation that, he will fix all corrupt, irrespective of their status in the society. It is logical to start from the big fish and later on to common corrupt officials at junior levels.

Pakistan’s judiciary and the military are also on the same page and extending full support to the PTI government’s mission to eliminate corruption from this society once for all. The recent arrests are just the beginning of accountability and have to go on a long journey. May it take one term or even next term, but the accountability process must keep on going till the eradication of corruption completely.

Pakistan is under the heavy foreign-debt, worth US Dollars 100 billion approximately. Who took this huge loan? Have they worked out, how to pay back? Have they spent all the loans on the development of Pakistan? Why this loan has not been trickled down impact? Why this heavy loan could not improve Pakistan’s economy? How useful was this loan to common man of Pakistan? Why IMF could not improve the governance of Pakistan? Why IMF failed to improve performance of Pakistan? Why IMF could not give positive advice to Government of Pakistan? The lenders also need to be blamed for lending without any feasibility and failure of IMF packages offered to Pakistan during last one decade or so long. Why few families (rulers) become more rich and country become poorer?

If the sitting governments of that times have been borrowing without any planning or homework or without considering how to pay back, all of them must be held responsible for this heinous crime against the nation. Whether they are inside Pakistan or left the country, they must be arrested and brought back to face justice.

If only a few corrupt families are arrested and asked for the return of looted money, Pakistan can get rid of its major part of foreign-debt. We may not need any bailout package from the IMF or any help from any friendly country. All the looted money must be returned, all the illegal assets must be confiscated and suctioned out. All the recovered money must be used to pay back our foreign-debt.

There is no need to impose additional taxes and duties on the common man. Electricity, Fuel, Gas and consumer products may be kept on the original position. It is illogical that the common man, who is not responsible for the debt and still suffers due to the corruption of rulers.  It is desired, the previous rulers, who have pushed the country into economic chaos, should be held responsible and all damages need to be compensated by them only. There is no need to punish the whole nation for few criminals. Recovery from previous corrupt rulers is very much do-able and very much possible, above all very much desired. There are examples available in the world, how they recovered looted money from their big shots.  Saudi Arabia has done it well. China is a role model to be followed in this regard.  The Chinese government is willing to share its experience and expertise in fighting against corruption.

Our internal resources may be utilized fully to control corruption and recover all black money. Even if there is a need to introduce new legislation, the Government should not hesitate. Masses in Pakistan stands with Government on this issue. The government should move smartly in this direction with full strength and confidence. Public support is already there.  However, if the Government fails to accomplish this task, it may lose popularity.

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South Asia

Gentlemen’s game or Propaganda? Cricket and the India-Pakistan Voices

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Can a sport be utilized as an effective propaganda tool? And if so, does it ideally mean that government intrusion is a necessity for its success? The answer to this question lies in the reflection of the cricket scenario in Asia. Although recognized as a gentlemen’s game, much can be said about its dichotomy as a weapon in the ever-growing war between India and Pakistan. Cricket propaganda has become a major trend over the past decade between the two countries as competition remains scarce with the political tensions and matches are seen as a great opportunity to reflect those political tensions. 

Recently, the tension between the two countries escalated with a suicide bombing attack sponsored by the terror group, Jaish-e-Mohammed in the Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir. This grave attack resulted in the death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, which in the opinion of the Indian government was an act of war leading them to raise the issue on the global platform. Surprising, one of the biggest acts of public response, with the usual backlash of the country’s rights over the Kashmir valley, was a call to abandon the upcoming match between the two countries following the start of the ICC cricket world cup. Although, the Modi government did conduct airstrikes against Pakistan, leading to a major confrontation between the two countries along the ‘line of control’ (the de facto border between the two countries), a large scale debate about whether India should abandon the game was a hotly debated topic in the country.

It is worth noticing that later the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), did hand over the matter to the Modi government, after which the decision was inclined towards the sportsmanship of the country, however, both the Indian cricket team and the BCCI were not ready to desert the will of the public that easily. Involved in an ODI series with Australia, the Indian team walked out wearing military caps as a sign of apparent solidarity with the troopers killed in the terrorist attack. Never before had Team India taken it upon themselves to spread such jingoistic propaganda on a global scale and make such overt statement. The rise of the protestors in Pakistan were met with official statements from the International body of Cricket (ICC), stating their approval as a means of “support” to the Indian team for a fund-raising effort for their fallen soldiers.  

Similarly, in an act of nationalistic fervor, the BCCI decided to get Pakistan banned from the upcoming world-cup prior to its commencement but was severely backlashed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), to keep politics away from the sanctity of the game. Although BCCI was unsuccessful in passing an unrealistic degree of order, given their large scale influence on the International body, it was clear that cricket had become an additional weapon of mass destruction and means of propaganda between the two countries.

So has the situation become better now? Recently, an Ad-war following the start of the world cup has emerged between the two countries, given their highly anticipated upcoming clash on the 16th of June. Ahead of the Sunday clash-guaranteed to put both the nations at a standstill- Star Sport’s Mauka ad ( loosely translated to a chance of winning) has captured the attention of the Indian fans, as the video has garnered over 2.5 million views after it was published on 10th June 2019. This video currently stands as a reprise an extension of the “Patakhe kab podhenge” campaign (clumsily translated to “When will be get to burn crackers”), wherein a Pakistani fan never gets a chance to burn his crackers as Pakistan is always defeated by India on a world cup stage, as indicated by the records as well. However, the new Mauka ad seems to recognize the importance of June 16th as Father’s day and does not fail to interject the role of India as a father in comparison Pakistan, as a means of cheeky humor which received large scale reaction from the Pakistani fans.

As a means of response, a Pakistani news channel Jazz Tv published a video with a character impersonating Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the Indian air force pilot who was captured, briefly held and then released under the pretense of the Geneva Convention. The character is seen sporting the pilot’s handlebar mustache with a fake South Indian accent and is dressed in the Indian team jersey, following which an interrogator asks him to give back the teacup he has been holding, as a means to denote how the cup belongs to Pakistan. This video was met with the usual support from the Pakistani fans and deemed ‘racist’ by the Indian fans, accounting to the portrayal of the esteemed pilot with a fake southern accent. Although, tension has been running high between the countries for some time now, both the nations have resorted to extending their tensions to the cricket pitch as well, ensuring large scale traction for their upcoming matches.

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South Asia

Modi’s Operandi

Syed Nasir Hassan

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Same old Modi puts himself in throne again but with different mandate this time. This time he came with much force and appeared more vigilant. Sweeping an electoral win with more than 300 seats out of 543 and restricting Indian National Congress to mere 52 seats. This clearly shows that India gave priority to nationalism over any other set of idea. Prior to previous electoral year i.e. 2014,Modi lured with promises of social and economic reforms and upheaval. Which sunk badly as some of the predicaments are still in the society. From being miserable in improving the job sector that gave rise to unemployment rate to the inducing grieves to the farmers, Modi bagged some failures as well in his previous tenure.

Whereas this time bait was the Hindu nationalistic sentiments, which Mr. Modi and his members of the den enjoyed the feast by winning the election. By using hate mandate, Modi successfully maneuvered himself and his party in to the realms of Delhi. Before elections, his unfortunate adventurous voyage with its neighbor and rival Pakistan made a lucid chance to portray himself as heroic figure. Modi flaunted anger and hate towards its immediate neighbor. It profited him in shape of getting a majority in the lower house of the Indian political saga. Hate sentiments were provoked and inducted in common minds. Question herby rises that how Hindu nationalism can or will transform India?

During previous reign of Mr. Modi, clear social and religious divisions were drawn onto the Indian society. This was mechanized in recent elections as well by promoting nationalism or more likely Hinduism. One of the tactics that was opted by BJP and Modi is persuasion of fears of Indian society and Hindu ideology and presenting himself as the only savior. Modi portrayed himself as the only option for Hindu caste to save Hindu ideology from external threats.

Modi has always been fond of shifting Indian secular discourse towards a Hindu nationalist sermon. His previous tenure and the plight minorities faced during that time testifies his aims. Now he has been elected for another five years. This time he has secured almost 56% of the lower house that clearly means that Mr. Modi will have to face no hurdle in his way towards passing a legislation.

Media and Modi has always been close aides to each other. This nexus was also prominent in the recent elections as Social and Electronic media, both were eminent in glaring Modi-ism. It ultimately cultivated his ideology in the minds of a common viewer hence reflecting it in the election results. His election campaign was given more coverage than any other thing on TV. The election soap series continued feeding the people of the India. Without any doubt, there have been immense flow of monetary funds in the veins on Indian media during the election time.

Modi’s Bharatya Jantya Party or BJP’s Modi have already drawn a plan to be executed in the society. Selection of candidates that were given tickets and won were some of the most extremist in nature. Shakshi Mahraj, a newly elected member of parliament on BJP’s seat already has more than 30 criminal cases against him. Another newly elected BJP’s Member of Parliament, Pragya Singh Thakur remarked Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin as “a patriot”. Not only this, selections for new cabinet members clearly indicated where Mr. Modi would be leading Indian society. Amit Shah who is also a president of BJP has ironically been selected as India’s Home Minister. There is a clear chance thatnew reforms might be religion centric rather than being focused on governance. BJP will clearly exhibit the Hindu ideology in governance that would further raise concerns for the minorities in India.

The Indian future and the question of Indian minorities seems bleak. Modi created a narrative on abhorrence and nationalism, he won elections on this mandate but now he has to defend it and every word of hatred that came out of his mouth may be realized through his actions. It puts Indian society in a dismal situation.

It is arduous to analyze that how large populous has voted in favor of hate mandate prompted by Modi. But there is a chance that Indian society might be falling prey to reverse psychology. It indulged itself so deep and intense in criticizing and accusing its neighbor, Pakistan, for being extremist and conservative society that it itself is becoming one.

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