Sunday, August 6, 2017

New Pakistan PM; Trump's Immigration Proposals; Gulalai's Allegations

Who's Pakistan's New PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected after Nawaz Sharif's disqualification? What's his background? Is he just a temporary seat-warmer until another Sharif becomes PM? Will he able to make a difference? Will he be able to act independently of the Sharif family's power and influence? What is the future of Nawaz Sharif and his immediate family? Will NAB pursue charges against them? Will PMLN survive?

Politicians Dominate Off-shore Company Owners in Panama Leaks 

What is the proposed Cotton-Perdue RAISE (Reform American Immigration for Strong Economy) Act backed by President Donald J. Trump? Will it reverse the diversity of immigrants put in place by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (also known as Hart-Celler Act) that was pushed by Sen Edward Kennedy and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson? Is it a racist act insisting on immigrants being able to speak English when they first enter the United States? Will it significantly reduce immigration?

What are PTI MNA Ayesha Gulalai's sexual harassment and sexting allegations against party leader Imran Khan? How serious are they? Why did these allegations surface in the immediate aftermath of Panama Verdict that disqualified PM Sharif? Are these payback from PMLN for PTI Chief Imran Khan's anti-corruption campaign against its leaders? Will the courts interpret articles 62 and 63 to disqualify Imran Khan for not being truthful and trustworthy? Where will this stop? Are these articles equally applicable for all manner of lying and personal character flaws unrelated to the affairs of the state?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Panama Verdict Disqualifies Nawaz Sharif

Trump's Immigration Policies: Mexican Wall, Muslim Ban

Imran Khan's Campaign Against Sharifs

Did Musharraf Steal People's Money?

Trump's White House

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel


Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's new PM charges ahead with reforms. #energy, #economy, #civil #military ties, - Nikkei Asian Review

As soon as he became chairman of the Economic Coordination Committee, or ECC, the government's highest decision-making body for economic policies, Abbasi founded Ministry of Energy by merging of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Water and Power to accelerate construction of the power infrastructure so essential for economic growth.

The new prime minister appointed former Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, one of his most able cabinet members in the area of economic reform, as minister of interior. Abbasi is also keeping a close eye on security, especially in preventing terrorism and deterring organized crime.

The business sector has welcomed the new prime minister. If he follows the previous government's policies that proved moderately successful in implementing reforms and achieving high economic growth, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), or PML-N, could likely overcome the Sharif scandal and do relatively well in next summer's general election.

Key ministries merge

Merging government offices in charge of energy policy had been discussed in order to deal with the massive power shortage, which has exceeded 5000 megawatts. But the merger failed to materialize due to lack of political will within the ruling party and the government.

Since his days as minister of petroleum and natural resources, Abbasi has been pushing for construction of liquefied natural gas terminals and development of gas fields. The creation of the ministry of energy jibes with his long-held view that the country should expand gas-based power generation to address energy shortages.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who oversaw economic and fiscal policies, was the key player in the previous cabinet. But he gave up ECC chairmanship to Abbasi because of a Supreme Court order to investigate allegations that he illicitly amassed personal wealth. This clearly shows that the power center has shifted within Pakistan.


In mid-August, Abbasi met prominent business leaders in the country's commercial hub of Karachi, where he personally answered their questions and addressed concerns. "[We are] really impressed they are overcoming the damage by the disqualification of the former PM and [are] much more united," said one of the participants. "[Abbasi's] business practice is much better than his predecessor."

Pakistan's economy is projected to achieve growth of more than 5% in the fiscal year that ended in June, due in large part to support from the International Monetary Fund, projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, expansion of foreign investment, and a recovery in personal spending. This would be the highest growth rate in 9 years.

The fiscal deficit is moderately expanding due to pork-barrel projects ahead of the general election, and exports aren't growing as expected. But investors at home and abroad are showing more faith in the government because of the improved energy and security situations.


"The new prime minister is a businessman turned politician, having run the state airline and set up a low-cost carrier," says Ehsan Malik, CEO of the Pakistan Business Council, a leading think tank on economic policies. "He has deep understanding of business and economic priorities. He is also a good listener and a quick decision-maker."

Malik is also optimistic about the ruling party's recovery from the Sharif scandal. "Notwithstanding the change of leadership, the PML-N government will complete its five-year term," he says.

Haroon said...

Posted by Lt Gen Retd Tariq Khan
This joker (Nawaz Sharif) was interviewed yesterday by BBC. Here is my take on his profile:
A protege of General Ghulam Jilani and a product of General Zia's martial law, Nawaz Sharif never tires of lecturing us on the benefits of democracy. If any one wants to know what hypocrisy means and what is its practical manifestation, well it does not get better than this. Watch and learn as it unfolds before you in its finest hour. Financed by the ISI with illegal funds and propped up by the 'Establishment', he says he always follows the Constitution and the Law. Maybe his dictionary is different from what we are accustomed to read, but the Constitution for Nawaz in his eyes, is a set of rules to facilitate his thievery. He is so bitter about the 'PCO' judges but is indifferent to how he himself rose to stardom on the shoulders of the so called Establishment. Selective in his judgements, partial in his dealings and unfair in his conduct, he is not a man that even a child can trust. They first took out the clause restricting membership to the assembly for the educated only and ushered in the uncouth scum of this country, the fools we now suffer on TV with their slap stick arguments, insulting one another in the basest accusations one can ever be exposed to. Then they took away the powers of the President to dissolve the assembly, removing all checks and balances, giving themselves free license to loot and rob with wanton abandon. Now they want to remove articles 62 and 63 so that morality does not come in their way as they continue to misgovern this hapless nation.
Crying crocodile tears over the demise of democracy, Nawaz was directed to hold a Census by the SC just as he was made to hold Local Body Elections by them. In fact he was forced to convene the NSC by the SC. His most memorable decisions were ones that were forced by the SC through a suo moto action on account of his reluctance to do the right thing. His idea of democracy is limited to circumventing the National Assembly and avoiding the parliament. In his democracy, government funds were distributed to legislators, (just as they had been before) in the garb of development funds, as a bribe and a reward for good behaviour. He did this as if it was his father's country and we were all serfs who were obliged to contribute for this aberration. So much so that we are now taxed for transferring funds from our own savings to our current account while people such as him get away with tax evasion as they lecture us. He insists that 200 million voted for him knowing fully well that he got only 14% votes and that too not to him alone but to the PMLn Party as a whole. He talks of conspiracies, whereas he was removed for his deceit and theft; he fails to acknowledge that his Party still has two PMs: one in Azad Kashmir and the other of Pakistan; that his Party still has a Chief Minister in GB, Punjab and Baluchistan despite his wrong doings. Where does he find that conspiracy agsinst him and that too an international one?
Here is a man who is resposible for stabbing his collegue Junejo in the back, scuttling Benazir's Government twice, personally going to Court to have Gillani removed, and then having the gal to say, "No PM has ever completed his term". Never mind that his beloved Constitution does not specify the term of a PM but mentions the term of a Government only. That this small fact escapes his limited intellect, that the world over, PMs come and go, but it is the Governments that remain.
He talks of disclosing conspiracies but his moment never arrives, he speaks of the rules of business but violates all. His nepotism and violation of merit stands out in every government institution as he corrupts all, FBR, NAB, SECP, State Bank, FIA etc. His hostility towards the judicary is well established as he presided over the only ever physical attack on the SC.

Riaz Haq said...

If this comes to pass with a big split in #PMLN #Sharif family, the most likely beneficiaries will be #PTI and #ImranKhan, not #PPP or others. #Pakistan

FOR the first time since 1999, there are serious question marks over the PML-N’s future. A key reason is the family equation: can the Sharif brothers maintain their united front going into the 2018 polls? Or will this family bond break?

All may not stay well. Foremost, for the first time, this is not about the brothers. Both know their moves during the next year may determine their children’s political fortunes. Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif must now think as fathers as they game their politics.

Nawaz has already shown what he’s willing to do to keep this close hold. Most damaging to the party was his decision to overlook the possible gains he could have made by calling early elections after he had been ousted. The PPP and PTI were not ready, and there was discernible sympathy for Nawaz in Punjab.

Many say he didn’t do so because of the 2018 Senate elections. But there was another catch: Maryam Nawaz wasn’t anywhere near ready, and a five-year mandate for Shahbaz at the centre with son Hamza or his appointee in Punjab risked shifting the party’s balance of power in the younger brother’s favour. Nawaz not only opted against this but also kept Shahbaz and Hamza out of the NA-120 campaign. Instead, Maryam was given the opportunity to announce her arrival in the heart of Lahore.

Nawaz has reportedly agreed that Shahbaz will be his candidate for prime minister in 2018. This is the party’s only manageable option, but it isn’t a done deal. Those who know Nawaz’s politics say the real plan may still be to fast-track Maryam’s grooming process. This would be a disaster and could bring Nawaz-Shahbaz relations to a head to the party’s detriment.

It would make 2018 a do-or-die scenario for Shahbaz. He would somehow have to make prime minister or else accept that he and Hamza will continue to play second fiddle to Maryam. The problem is that he has no good options to force the issue.

The best he can hope for is for party stalwarts to convince Nawaz that Maryam doesn’t have enough cache yet and that any effort to keep Shahbaz at bay could send the wrong signal down the party chain. Most won’t dare challenge Nawaz.

Also, there is an effort by Nawaz loyalists to find a constitutional way to reverse his ban. As long as Nawaz feels this is an option, he wouldn’t do anything that could weaken his hold in the centre.

The party’s confusion will then persist and Nawaz and Shahbaz loyalists will find it hard to pose a united front for the polls.

The other scenario that may work to remove the leadership confusion would be a Nawaz and Maryam conviction by the courts in a way that puts Maryam’s eligibility in doubt. Shahbaz & Co would then hope Nawaz recognises that eyeing a major role for Maryam would damage the party’s electoral chances.

Of course, this implies that Shahbaz must hope for a negative verdict against his brother. But the bigger problem both must entertain is that an outright conviction could easily trigger defections of ‘electables’ within the PML-N.

Stories of several PML-N legislators already looking towards the establishment for a signal have been making the rounds. Many will surely see the convictions as a sign of the Sharifs being cut to size for good. It’ll be time to jump, and if their next move can be facilitated by the powers that be, the PML-N’s electoral chances would suffer. Perhaps the only way to prevent this would also be to have Shahbaz in the saddle and able to espouse confidence within party ranks when the courts cast the die.

Shahbaz could also conceivably use the khakis’ liking for him over Nawaz to offer his brother some assurance that PML-N-army ties would improve with him at the helm — with all its potential downstream benefits for Nawaz (and the party).

Riaz Haq said...

Loopholes in Pakistani law that facilitate tax evasion and undocumented economy, according to Haroon Akhtar Khan on Dunya News with Kmran Khan:

1. Prize bonds are bearer's certificates....can be used to launder money on which taxes have not been paid.

2. Overseas remittances are considered legitimate tax-free income.

3. Income can be labeled "agriculture income" which is exempt from income tax

4. Anyone with foreign passport or residency permits like iqama can falsely claim to be non-resident (Law says they must spend over 180 days abroad) whose income in exempt from taxes.

Riaz Haq said...

Judiciary shoring up ‘rule of law’ in #Pakistan. #NawazSharif disqualified based on JIT findings, #SharifFamily being investigated by #NAB after #PanamaPapers Leak

For ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, defiance towards the judiciary may well seem like a road to an eventual political rehabilitation, but the writing on the wall is clear: His rule has definitively ended

By Farhan Bokhari, Special to Gulf News
Published: 17:01 February 24, 2018

A decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court last week, to remove former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as head of the ruling party, must trigger further optimism for a nation where democracy is still taking root.

The ruling not only knocked out Sharif as leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), a party created in his name, but the verdict also presented a powerful ray of hope for rule of law to finally take shape.

In Pakistan’s 70-year history, the citizens have become split into two categories on matters of law: Those who are law abiding and those who not only trample upon the law, but consider it their right to do so. Such reckless behaviour has fuelled what has widely come to be known as Pakistan’s crisis of governance, whose ill effects have seeped into every-day life.

It is no secret that Sharif, since his ouster last July, following a Supreme Court verdict, has repeatedly questioned that ruling. For him, being forced out on a Supreme Court verdict was blatantly unfair and struck at the heart of Pakistan’s democratic evolution. Some of his closest supporters even joined hands to publicly claim that the former prime minister became a victim of a grand conspiracy, possibly aimed at weakening the country’s democratic fabric.

Yet, beyond such rhetoric lies the powerful reality of the need to finally play by the rules.

The case against the former prime minister was triggered following revelations of large-scale unaccounted offshore wealth belonging to three of his children, which formed part of the so-called ‘Panama leaks’ — a comprehensive set of documents that was leaked from the offices of a Panama-based law firm. The revelations finally blew the lid off the dark world of secrecy that shrouded the Panama-based offshore bank accounts of the rich and wealthy the world over. For years, critics had pointed towards safe havens such as Panama where banks have zealously guarded the identity of their clients and their sources of wealth, irrespective of where those assets came from.

The global fallout from this saga put many to shame and brought about the downfall of figures like the Icelandic prime minister at the time. But Sharif chose to distance himself from the controversy by arguing that the wealth in his children’s name was legitimately earned from his family’s offshore businesses.

The outcome of the case, following a long-drawn trial in the country’s apex court, finally saw Sharif’s departure as prime minister last year. For the politically uninitiated, there are two aspects to the case that are excessively troubling.