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Pakistan witnessed the worst shortage of sugar and wheat. Their prices went up to historic high rates. In terms of transparency ranking, the people of Pakistan witnessed a decline with every passing year of the PTI government.

As per Transparency International’s flagship publication ‘Corruption Perception Index’, Pakistan’s ranking during the PTI government dwindled from 117/180 to 140/180. Not only does it contradict the government’s claims, it also indicts the government as the most corrupt so far. In the last three and a half years, various corruption scandals kept on emerging involving cabinet members and even the Premier—notable examples include the sugar crisis, wheat shortage, medicine scandals, Ring Road, BRT, and Tosha Khana scandal.

The government’s inability to respond to various international disclosure of undisclosed wealth stashed offshore by rich and powerful also exposed its seriousness of anti-corruption rhetoric. This also unveiled the resolve of State institutions for across-the-board accountability, transparency and importance of paying taxes. The elites were maintaining their assets offshore in an alleged attempt to avoid taxes. The Swiss Secrets, Pandora Leaks, and earlier Panama leaks exposed the names of hundreds of politicians, businessmen, media tycoons, bureaucrats, and army personnel from Pakistan.

Also, on the national security front, the PTI Government was allegedly mishandling the matter of Indian spy, Kulbhushan Jadhav, and specifically enacting the “International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020”. This law was crafted to aid an Indian spy who was involved in the killing of innocent people in Pakistan.

The law minister misguided the parliament regarding the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision by saying that the law is being passed in the direction of the court. However, Pakistani lawyers advanced argument in the court and maintained that appropriate remedy, in this case, would have been, at most, effective review and reconsideration of the conviction.

Pakistan at a crossroads — I

Pakistan must have told ICJ that Pakistan’s domestic legal system provided for an established and defined process whereby the civil courts could undertake a substantive review for the decision of military tribunals to ensure procedural fairness afforded to the accused. It should have been emphasised that Pakistan’s courts were well suited to carrying out a review reconsidering any possible violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.

The counsel for Pakistan should have assured ICJ that the process of judicial review was available and High Courts of Pakistan always exercised “effective review and jurisdiction”. The example of Peshawar High Court was apt to be highlighted where the court pointed out that respect for the principles of a fair trial was of cardinal importance in any review and consideration.

All these facts show that the present government could not deliver as per its promises despite enjoying the full support of all institutions. It got enough time to set the direction of the country, however, its focus remained to strengthen its power base by utilizing the various institutions, and resultantly, the county was pushed to economic meltdown and foreign policy-related challenges.

The country needs a bold and competent leadership that can address all the above challenges. The opposition parties are confident that the ouster of Premier and fresh fair elections can solve the country’s main problems. They claim that they have numbers to remove the current government.

However, they have failed to share their strategy to overcome important challenges such as dealing with IMF. The PTI government has already deviated from the terms of agreement with the IMF which might impact the release of remaining installments. Though the present government claims the highest tax collection in history, yet figures show reliance on heavy indirect taxation. If the opposition succeeds, it will have no option but to impose new taxes. If so, it would fuel inflation.

The opposition parties should also brief the nation regarding repayment of loans rescheduled due to Covid. Moreover, Pakistan is struggling to address Financial Action Task Force (FATF) since 2018. The outstanding FATF’s demands are the same that former prime minster raised with security agencies and later faced the Dawn Leaks.

While effectiveness is rated very poor on all levels including regulatory compliance, the role of law enforcement agencies in implementation is highly dissatisfactory. Opposition parties need to share their roadmap of addressing all challenges related to the economy, foreign policy, and FATF so that the nation should know the way forward to rid Pakistan of the mess which has piled up in the last few years.

People of Pakistan are not interested in seeing the same faces time and again rather, they are looking for a positive impact on their lives which on one hand improves their living standards and on the other secures the future of their children.


(Huzaima Bukhari & Dr. Ikramul Haq, lawyers and partners of Huzaima, Ikram & Ijaz, are Adjunct Faculty at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), members Advisory Board and Visiting Senior Fellows of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). Abdul Rauf Shakoori is a corporate lawyer based in the USA and an expert in ‘White Collar Crimes and Sanctions Compliance’. They have recently coauthored a book, Pakistan Tackling FATF: Challenges and Solutions)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

Abdul Rauf Shakoori

The writer is a corporate lawyer based in the USA and an expert in White Collar Crimes and Sanctions Compliance. He has written several books on corporate and taxation law in Pakistan. He can be reached at [email protected]


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Aziz Ur Rahman Mar 21, 2022 02:15am
As usual with those authors an excellent expose of what the current government has done to hamstrung Pakistan and what the opposition needs to do to rectify the current situation
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