A week that started with a blackout pushing the entire country into darkness has brought some of Pakistan’s real realities to the limelight. A number of issues have combined into a wave of rising expectations and concerns. There is a feeling that something big is on the way.
First of all, the Broadsheet revelation came from nowhere. This story has injected variation into Imran Khan’s signature song about corruption. The ghosts from the past are moving to the center of the stage.
The case of foreign funding from the ruling PTI has finally come to life, with the party blaming its agents in the United States for ‘illegal funding’. And the resignation of office by a member of the federal cabinet has underscored the lack of harmony within the prime minister’s team.
While there are some hints of the opposition starting to lose ground, it is set to regain momentum with protests outside the Pakistan Electoral Commission offices in Islamabad on January 19 – the day after tomorrow – to demand an immediate ruling on the decision. PTI’s foreign funding case.
There are several other developments that are not a source of comfort for the ruling party, including the trend of rising prices and shortages of gas. But one incident on Friday in particular was a source of national embarrassment and an additional blow to the quality of this government administration. A PIA Boeing 777 was seized in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysian authorities on the order of a local court for failing to pay rental fees.
Unfortunately, PIA and our aviation authorities have repeatedly made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Other news this week is that PIA flights to China were blocked for a period of time after ten passengers flying to China were found positive for Covid-19. Our national carrier still has not flown to European destinations after Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan’s statement that of our airline’s approximately 860 pilots, 260 hold fraudulent licenses.
After all, it is Broadsheet’s story that has confronted Pakistan, in a way, with a moment of truth. The focus is high corruption in politics and its accountability. Imran Khan claims to have invested all of his political capital into fighting corruption and his particular targets are parties led by Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari who were ruling in the past.
In fact, his campaign against the PML-N and PPP leadership has become an obsession with a pathological tone. He held back that he wouldn’t give them an NRO, whatever that meant. At the same time that the NAB has mobilized its forces against these leaders, the spokesman for Imran, who is a true brigade, is fixated on blaming the opposition for everything that went wrong, even when the national power grid broke down in January 2021.
But questions arising from episodes of Broadsheet and from interviews with its owner, Kaveh Moussavi, have exposed gaps in the PTI patron. While this has always been evidence for objective analysts and students of Pakistani history, the truth of the accountability process has again surfaced.
The story of the UK-based asset recovery company began in 2000 when the then head of NAB, General Mohammad Amjad, engaged Broadsheet to recover stolen Pakistani wealth hidden in foreign banks. According to the contract, the company will receive 20 percent of the reclaimed assets. Why this didn’t work is a long story, but Pakistan now has to pay a huge sum of $ 29 million because Broadsheet went into arbitration after Pakistan ended the contract in 2003.It was this decision that sparked media attention and made Kaveh Moussavi a familiar face in Pakistani households.
Initially, the spotlight was on Kaveh’s claim that he had been offered a $ 25 million bribe to drop the investigation into the Sharif family and Imran responded with a series of tweets to say that, while the Panama Papers had exposed the corruption and money laundering of our ruling elite. , The Broadsheet disclosure again exposes the large scale corruption of our ruling elite.
However, Broadsheet’s owners have also accused unidentified individuals purportedly linked to the government of seeking bribes. He also criticized Imran Khan’s ‘insincere’ push for accountability. In published reports, he was quoted as having asserted that if there is any claim to Imran Khan’s credibility in fighting corruption, he must publish the London court’s ruling for the Pakistani public to read.
A list of 200 people was provided to Broadsheet in 2000 and it includes the names of not only politicians but also military personnel, businessmen and bureaucrats. These names have not been published, despite some revelations on social media. But we do know that some of the top politicians from the list became ministers in General Pervez Musharraf’s government, after they defected from their party. And this practice, making corruption a bargaining chip, has persisted. This is how some cabinet members are recruited from parties to which they now comply.
Therefore, unless there is a change in how power is exercised, the drive for accountability to politicians is bound to be selective and partial. It will be a witch hunt. This view is validated by observations made by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. NAB is currently considered very biased and is pursuing politicians from one side of political divisions.
Can the London court ruling that has indemnified Broadsheet provide any clarification on this? But the problem here is not that the people don’t know which of the rulers did what. They know – and they wait for the circumstances and reality to emerge from their existence to somehow benefit them.
So, does the outcome of cases of foreign funding and other disputes in the political arena allow this wounded nation to take some steps in the right direction?
The writer is a senior journalist.
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