Protesting against fundamentals of democracy
Transparency, rule of law and accountability are the basic fundamentals of true and participatory democracy. But on the contrary in Pakistan the opposition political parties are opposing, by and large, the across-the-board accountability process, bringing to justice the elite class by observing the rule law of law and ensuring transparency in the system of governance. The opposition lawmakers, including PPP Chairman Bilwal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N heavy weights, strongly protested in the National Assembly against the arrest of PML-N vice President Maryam Nawaz by NAB in Chaydhry Sugar Mills case and staged a walkout of the Lower House. ANP President AsfandiyarWali has drawn a far-fetched conceit between the abrogation of special constitutional status of Indian held Jammu and Kashmir and the arrest of opposition politicians on charges of graft which is a contention remote from the ground realities. She has been remanded in NAB custody till August 21 by Accountability Court.
According to NAB prosecutor suspicious transactions has been carried out in Mayam Nawaz bank account which were related to Chaudhry Sugar Mills. She held shares worth Rs. 800,000 in this enterprise in 2008 which swelled to Rs.41 billion afterwards. A questionnaire was provided to her by NAB in which the list of questions also included queries about foreign investment in the Chaudhry Sugar Mill. But she had not bothered to respond to these questions.
It is not only a misnomer but a matter of grave concern that because of the alleged involvement of ruling political elite, business tycoons and top bureaucrats the sole superpower of world, the United States has extended the scope of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to the entire economy of Pakistan, including both formal and informal sectors. It was the US that moved a resolution in the Paris meeting of FATF early last year seeking black-listing Pakistan for its weak anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing regime. A short leash of three months was given to the previous PML-N government to make strong the anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing regimes before formally putting Pakistan on the black list in June last year. Instead of putting their house in order former Interior Minister AhsanIqbal described it a US led conspiracy to damage what he called the fast growing and flourishing economy of Pakistan. Former finance minsterMiftahIsamael claimed that anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing regimes in the country are the robust ones in the world. Former state minister for finance Rana Mohammad Afzal pretended ignorance about any FATF action plan. It was because of lack of seriousness shown by the previous government that even China and Saudi Arabia did not support Pakistan in the FATF meeting.
The visiting US delegation after concluding its meetings with the relevant quarters in the federal capital Islamabad will go to Karachi to hold discussions with the representatives of both private and public sector to get the required information how best the government can deliver on the FATF Action Plan to clear the way for removing Pakistan from the black list in the upcoming meeting of this watchdog. After meeting with Advisor on finance, the delegation has already shown concern over the slow implementation of 27 points FATF Action Plan, which is caused by the lack of parliamentary support by opposition to the government for passing and enforcing necessary legislation to strengthen the legal and institutional framework to curb money laundering and choke the sources of terror financing regimes. There seems no rationale in opposition protest against the on ingoing accountability process. However, there should no holy cow approach for protecting certain heavy weights in the rank and file of the ruling party which provides lethal ammunition to the opposition for government’s bashing in the parliament and mass media.